Class, gender, and the family unit: A dynamic model of stratification and class politics

Eric Plutzer, John F. Zipp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


One of the most controversial issues in the literature on class and gender has been how to understand the class positions of dual earner couples. However, a central issue in this debate is, in fact, not testable using typical sample surveys: there is no way to assess if spouses who have different objective class positions also have different subjective class affinities. We use a large sample of British dual earner couples to address this for the first time. Based on our analysis, we have six conclusions: (1) Most couples agree on their class identification and on class politics; (2) this family class effect is not due to common consumption patterns; (3) cross-class couples disagree no more often than same-class couples, undermining the individualistic perspective; (4) husbands are more influenced by their wives' class of origin than by her current class position, with wives drawing more on their husbands' current jobs; (5) the dynamic model of class provides a better fit than the structural model; and (6) "individuals in families" are the most appropriate unit of class analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-448
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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