Does Sports serve as a “mobility escalator” (an opportunity for upward social mobility) Social mobility: movement within a social class structure. Includes changes in income, wealth, education and occupation within an individual’s lifetime (intra-generational mobility) or across generations (inter-generational mobility). Sports do offer the opportunity for mobility. It is clear that SOME poor people have achieved significant economic mobility from sporting careers. The sociological question, though, is how common is this mobility, and overall HOW MUCH MOBILITY is provided by sports? No one has clearly or systematically measured this. But in doing so, we must consider the following: 1) we have many anecdotes of individuals who have earned significant wealth through sports. So, we know there are cases of upward mobility through sports. 2) The number of career opportunities in sports are severely limited and often short term. (See Table 10.3 in Coakley for a calculation of the odds of playing professional sports).
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