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Class Identification of Men and Women in the 1970s and 1980s

Nancy J. Davis and Robert V. Robinson
American Sociological Review
Vol. 53, No. 1 (Feb., 1988), pp. 103-112
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095736
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Class Identification of Men and Women in the 1970s and 1980s
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Abstract

Employing NORC data for 1974-1978 and 1980-1985, we evaluate three models of class identification for married men and women: (1) an "independence" model, in which one's own characteristics outweigh those of one's spouse; (2) a "sharing" model, in which equal weight is attached to one's own and one's spouse's characteristics; and (3) a "borrowing" model, in which one's spouse's characteristics are more important than one's own. In both decades, married men exhibit an independence model, in which only their own characteristics are salient, regardless of whether their wife works outside the home or not. From the 1970s to the 1980s, women shifted from a borrowing model to a sharing model. In the 1970s, employed or not, women attached more weight to their husband's than to their own characteristics. In the 1980s, employed women moved toward a sharing model, in which they take into account both their own and their husband's characteristics. An analysis of single men and women revealed movement away from a sharing model, in which both their own and their parents' characteristics are important, toward an independence model, in which only their own characteristics are salient. These changes are examined in light of economic and demographic shifts, political activism by women, and a possible trend toward greater individualism.

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