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Strong and weak ties as predictors of occupational position. Dave Griffiths and Paul Lambert University of Stirling 18 th March 2012 Sunbelt Conference, Redondo Beach CA.

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strong and weak ties as predictors of occupational position

Strong and weak ties as predictors of occupational position

Dave Griffiths and Paul LambertUniversity of Stirling

18th March 2012Sunbelt Conference, Redondo Beach CA.

Work for this paper is supported by the ESRC as part of the project‘Social Networks and Occupational Structure’, see http://www.camsis.stir.ac.uk/sonocs/

theories
Theories
  • Social interaction: stratification effects can be demonstrated (Chan, 2010; Laumann & Guttman, 1966; Prandy, 1990; Stewart, Prandy & Blackburn, 1973; Stewart, Prandy, & Blackburn, 1980)
  • Strong and weak ties: Strong ties provide support, weak ties provide substance (Grannovetter 1973, 1983)
  • Social capital: access to beneficial resources is beneficial in itself (c.f. Lin & Erickson 2008)
  • Occupational differentiation: more detail occupational distinctions provide more robust measures (Jonsson et al. 2009)
slide3
Aims
  • Do more advantaged occupations have increased access to more beneficial resources?
  • Do Position Generators accurately measure accesses to resources
  • Does composition of strong and weak ties matter?
methodology
Methodology
  • BHPS 1991-2008
  • Individuals linked to all they are related to, named as a friend or lived with.
  • Individuals placed within networks of all the alters of their alters, snowballed to include all possible friends of friends of friends of friends
  • 30k individuals grouped into 9k networks
slide5

Ego

    • Lives with parents in 1991
    • Lives with friends in 1993
    • Lives with partner in 1995 (away from hometown)
    • They move into partner’s parents in 1997 (returning to hometown)
    • They split up and ego lives in shared house in 2005
  • Wave 1: Ego (1) lives with parents (2 & 3) and sibling (4)
  • Wave 3: Ego lives with three friends (5, 6 & 7)
  • Wave 5: Ego lives with partner (8)
  • Wave 7: Ego and partner move in with partner’s parents (9 & 10)
  • Wave 15: Ego shares house with three others (11, 12 & 13)

This produces a network of 13 individuals in the survey who have lived with the same ego. There would be 18 opportunities for people to name a best friend, possibly creating a network of 31 individuals.

If the sibling has a similar pattern, we could have 22 individuals linkable to the Wave 1 household, and 32 friends. With parent’s (10) friends, this is a network of 64 people.

slide8

Weak ties include ego to:

  • Best friends and housemates
  • Spouse’s friends and family
  • Former housemates
  • Spouse’s former housemates
  • Son’s spouses former housemates
  • Friends of son’s spouses former housemates

Strong ties

  • Parent - child
  • Grandparent - grandchild
  • Sibling - sibling
  • Spouse - spouse
slide9

20 most common occupations

Source: BHPS 1991-2007

slide13

PR/ advertising

Healthcare workers

Farm workers

artists

Laboratory worker

Social workers

educationalists

Public private divide

IT/software/ computer experts

No strong patterns – plenty of dyads with an obvious working relationship, but linking together unrelated areas (i.e., clothes makers and coal miners linking together)

Managers

All ties

Secretaries

slide14

Weak ties

(mostly friendship or distant hhld connections)

slide15

Strong ties

(mostly close family/ household sharers)

slide19

Percentage of within occupation connections attributable to strong and weak ties.

Source: BHPS 1991-2008

Correlation between most recent CAMSIS score and the mean of strong and weak ties

Source: BHPS 1991-2008

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Position Generators tend to lead to grouping together of occupations with similar stratification positions, but:
    • Can elide nuanced differences between some occupations
    • Possibly due to the need to focus on selected common occupations
    • Other forms of network summary may better reflect social distances than PG approach
  • Differences between strong and weak ties can be observed in patterns of common connections between occupations, with weaker ties dispersed more widely and structurally less shaped by stratification position
  • Little difference between strong and weak ties in strength of relation between own and alter occupation: both reflect the same overall trend for homophily
bibliography
Bibliography
  • Chan, T. W. (2010). The social status scale: Its construction and properties. In T. W. Chan (Ed.), Social Status and Cultural Consumption (pp. 28-56). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Granovetter, M. (1973) The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), 1360-1380.
  • Granovetter, M. (1983) The Strength of Weak Ties: A Network Theory Revisited. Sociological Theory, 1, 201-233.
  • Jonsson, J.O., Grusky, D.B., Di Carlo, M., Pollak, R., & Brinton, M.C. (2009) Microclass Mobility: Social Reproduction in Four Countries. American Journal of Sociology, 114(4), 977-1036.
  • Laumann, E. O., & Guttman, L. (1966). The relative associational contiguity of occupations in an urban setting. American Sociological Review, 31, 169-178.
  • Lin, N., & Erickson, B. (2008) Social Capital: An International Research Program. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Prandy, K. (1990). The Revised Cambridge Scale of Occupations. Sociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association, 24(4), 629-655.
  • Stewart, A., Prandy, K., & Blackburn, R. M. (1973). Measuring the Class Structure. Nature.
  • Stewart, A., Prandy, K., & Blackburn, R. M. (1980). Social Stratification and Occupations. London: MacMillan.