Social Mobility In many societies individuals or groups can move from one level (stratum) to another in the stratification system, a process called social mobility. Forms of Social Mobility. Social mobility takes a number of forms. It may be vertical or horizontal and intergenerational or intragenerational. When sociologists talk about social mobility, they usually mean intergenerational occupational mobility. Social Mobility and Status Attainment. More Americans are upwardly mobile than downwardly mobile across generations. Sociologists study the course of an individual's occupational status over the life cycle by looking at the socioeconomic life cycle. Education has the greatest influence on occupational attainment for white men. The processes of status attainment are different for women and blacks than for
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