Mate Selection

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15 Jan 2011
Mate Selection
Mar r iage market: potential spouses are evaluated on the basis of the resources they have to offer
and individuals compete with each ot her for the spouse they want most by offering their own
resources in retur n
Two types of resources
Produces economic well-being and status
People maximize their income and status to attract potential spouse
Gender difference: men= prestige in paid work / women= class background, age,
physical attractiveness, cultural participation, but recently, womens earning power
has become increasingly important because microstructure of family economy has
changed a great deal since after WW2
Similarity (value opinion, language, religion, ethnicity etc) leads to personal attraction
and better mutual understanding, common basis for conversation and joint activities
Mar r iage squeeze
Demographic imbalance in which the number of potential brides does not equal the
number of potential grooms
Female squeeze (excess of eligible women)
Male squeeze (excess of eligible men)
Fertility rates: increase in fertility rate (baby boom)
Sex difference in mor tality: male mortality higher than women (esp. from war)
Local mar r iage market
Neighborhood, schools, workplaces, churches etc
School: most effective b/ c homogeneous w ith respect to age
Workplaces: since increase of women participation in labor force
Third parties
Internal cohesion and homogeneity by keeping new generations marr ying within the
Endogamy (mar r y within g roup) and exogamy (mar r y outside group)
Prevent exogamy by g roup identification (internalized sense of peoplehood in the process
of socialization) and group sanctions (family, church, state)
Arranged marr iage: by someone other than the couple, usually by parents, matchmakers,
relatives etc
Forced marr iage: mar r ied without his or her consent or against his or her will
Interfaith mar r iage: some religious doctrines prohibit this; very often, religious
conversion is required
Interr acial mar r iage: until 1950s, most opposed; became generous
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