Costs of social mobility in the context of intimate partner relationships. “It is really easy to be angry at someone who is in front of me and not at the system, which produces the inequalities between us”
Power inequalities originating from capitalist patriarchy are having an impact on and even determining our personal relationships: gender, class and ethnic inequality are consistently present in our intimate ties as well (Ridgeway 2009). For socially mobile individuals from lower classes, one of the main costs of moving between social classes is to exist in the complex conflict that arises from distancing from the social class of origin in order to integrate into new social spaces (Bourdieu 2005, Friedman 2016). These internal conflicts that are caused by broadened social structures are also present not just in the difficulty of finding a desired romantic partner (Durst at al. 2014) but in the process of sustaining an intimate relationship with someone from a particular social background as well. Structural inequalities are also determinative factors in partner selection, education homogamy and ethnic homogamy are highly present in society (Kamijn 1993, 1998, 2010, Kang Fu 2001). In this paper, through analysing narratives of educationally upwardly mobile women in Hungary, regarding intimate partner selection and looking at intimate relationships themselves, I aim to discover how their narratives reflect upon the hidden costs of mobility. I show how gender, education and ethnic inequalities emerge through the personal accounts of their mobility experiences and to what extent these inequalities determine the process of finding a desired partner or sustaining an existing intimate relationship.
Kulcsszavak angol: social mobility, mobility trajectory, costs of mobility, intimate relationships, gender relations, class relations, ethnic inequalities, homogamy