9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN03 Biographical Perspectives on European Societies

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Mobility and Diversity of European Identities Building II, C2.02

Men in male-dominated manual occupations in Norway: a comparative perspective on work orientations, social mobility and gender relations in two educational cohorts

The data consists of a preliminary survey (N:270, rr:45%) providing an overview of the cohorts? work-life trajectories, and approximately 30 biographical interviews. By March 2009, the survey and 11 interviews have been completed.

First some brief notes on the relevance of the project for the group topic of "Towards Theory of European Society". Norway has one of the strongest welfare states in Europe, and is also one of the most equal countries when it comes to social mobility and opportunity structures. However, perhaps contrary to what one may expect, the gendered division of labour remains rigid, especially in working class occupations, and male dominated manual occupations are often still "passed on" from father to son. Intergenerational social mobility is low at the bottom of the educational hierarchy.

I hope to present some preliminary findings/theories at the ESA conference. I will analyze how questions of social mobility are related to conceptions and practices of gender. I will further outline some traits of the men?s subjective opportunity structures and some guiding principles of their work-life trajectories. I aim to show that the men´s work orientations (on the micro-level) can be used to analyze some structural traits of the labour market and educational system (on the macro level). I will also present some preliminary theories of how the men´s life course patterns are connected to structural economical changes, and how the issues these men face in their everyday life practices can be used to understand wider societal changes. I will try to address specifically the range of the theories developed from the project, e.g. how its findings can be used in develop theories of society in a wider European context.