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Nous présentons ici un nouvel index socio-économique des occupations, basé sur le recensement de 1981. Il est généralement admis que l'occupation est le meilleur indicateur de statut socio-économique, mais l'importance accordée au prestige, au revenu et à léducation dans la hiérarchisation des occupations demeure matière à débats. Pour cet index, nous avons décidé d'accorder un poids égal aux niveaux d’éducation et de revenu, en rant que composantes additives du statut socio-économique. Aussi, pour fins de continuité, nous avons calibré l ‘index sur la base de l échelle Pineo-Porter de prestige.

This article presents a socioeconomic index for the total Canadian labour force, based on 1981 Census data. It also reviews the problems and criticisms of indexes of this kind, and attempts to specify the meaning of socioeconomic scales and the uses to which they may be legitimately put. The present index is most applicable in situations where access to data is limited to occupational titles and where one desires a unidimensional contextual indicator which locates individuals in the Canadian occupational structure at a given point in time. Sociological analysis of structured inequality, however, may be advanced most effectively if, where feasible, a full range of methodological options is considered, including the assessment of conditions on the level of the individual, the use of other contextual levels such as the workplace, and the investigation of occupation, gender and class as interdependent historical products.