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2010-04-23, 2010-04-23 Zijdeman, RICHARD L. (ICS / Utrecht University) 10.17026/dans-xc4-vj4h
Societies have distinct social structures and individuals are positioned within the structure, or hierarchy, of the society. The broad consensus within social science is that an individual's position is partially ascribed by their social background and partially by their own achievements. The relative influence of social background and personal achievement remains an empirical question. in a society where social background is relatively more important it is plausible that an individual will attain a status position that is similar to their parents. Conversely, in a society where personal achievement is more influential it is plausible that a greater degree of discrepancy between status position and social background may be observed.
This study examines the extent to which macro level developments have been able to shift the relative importance of background and achievement for status attainment in the Netherlands during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The present thesis distinguishes six macro level developments that are sometimes referred to as 'modernization': industrialization, educational expansion, mass communication, mass transportation, urbanization and in-migration. For each of the developments hypotheses are derived on how they influence status attainment through marriage as well as intergenerational status attainment.
The hypotheses are tested using hierarchical linear analyses. Large scale individual level datasets are augmented with contextual data on each of the macro level developments. The approach taken provides new insights in spatial and temporal variation in the status attainment process. Moreover, it allows hypotheses on 'modernization' to be tested on their home ground: in a period before and during industrialization.