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Social change in social distance

5th December 2013 1:30pm, Ladywell House, Edinburgh

Paul Lambert, University of Sterling

In an ongoing project called 'Is Britain Pulling Apart' (, the authors use secondary survey microdata on the social connections held by people as a way of assessing the 'social distance' between social categories (for example - if there are relatively few social interactions between individuals who read the Independent and the Sun newspapers, then those groups are relatively more socially distant, and so forth). In this approach, changes over time can be explored by testing if there are differences between birth cohorts in the social distance between the social categories of interest. Moreover, the same style of analysis can be used to evaluate if there are interesting differences between other social groups, such as between advantaged and disadvantaged individuals, or different regions of residence. The authors have also used the same style of analysis to explore a number of cross-national differences in social distance patterns and trends for selected measures that are available on international datasets (such as covering occupational and educational homogamy). The authors view so far, for the UK, is that 'no', Britain isn't pulling apart at all; this presentation will seek to summarise evidence social change in social distance in Britain, and make comparisons with trends in a range of other contemporary societies. Please email to book your place.