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Migration and Endogamy According to Social Class: France, 1803–1986

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2005

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Abstract

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Does intra-national migration matter for partner choice? A number of conflicting hypotheses on the effects of migration on the likelihood of endogamy according to social class of origin are formulated and tested on the French historical record over the past two centuries. We conclude that migrants were less likely to marry endogamously, especially if they migrated from rural villages to cities; this is explained mainly by the fact that they thereby escaped the social pressure of their parents and peers and met more people from different social backgrounds. Contrary to what we expected, the relationships between migration characteristics and endogamy changed hardly at all over the two centuries. We also investigated whether temporal differences in endogamy could be explained partly by changes in migration patterns. We found that they could. The increase in the number of men and women living in or moving to cities was one particularly important cause of the decreasing likelihood of endogamy. Finally, we were interested in the possible bias in regional studies on endogamy. Our results show that this bias is especially large if these regions include only rural areas or cities. This is because the likelihood of endogamy differs between rural areas and cities, and is also especially low for people who move between these two types of region.

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2005 Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis

Footnotes

We would like to thank Marie-Pierre Arrizabalaga, Margarida Duraes, Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux, Leslie Page Moch, Elyce Rotella, Frank van Tubergen, and Richard Zijdeman for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article, as well as the participants of two seminars where this paper was discussed: a seminar on “Familles, mariages et domesticités: modèles historiques comparés (XVIe–XXe siècle)” at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and the Utrecht Mobility and Stratification Seminar.
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