pcsocmob - SocialMobility 1 SocialMobility...

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Social Mobility Social Mobility Socmob/17/3/97/P.Covington/ Introduction I will now look at social mobility in capitalist societies. It is generally agreed that the rate of social mobility - the amount of movement from one stratum to another - is significantly higher in industrial as compared to pre-industrial societies. Industrial societies are now often described as open, as having a relatively low degree of closure. In particular is argued that status in pre-industrial societies is largely ascribed , whereas in industrial societies it is achieved. As a result ascribed characteristics such as class, sex, race, kinship have less and less influence on an individual’s social status . Status is seen to be increasingly achieved on the basis of merit, talent, ability, ambition and hard work are steadily replacing ascribed characteristics as the criteria for determining a persons position in the class system. In post war Britain the opportunities for social mobility have improved for an number of reasons. ... Occupational changes : the changing occupational structure has created more room at the top . With computerisation and automation, there is less demand for manual labour and greater demand for non-manual skills and a better-educated workforce. Industrial changes : there has been a shift away from the older ‘smokestack’ industries such as foundries to new ‘ sunrise’ industries (computers). These new industries have a higher proportion of non manual jobs . In addition there has been a shift away from manufacturing industries . Ladders : in the past ambitious people might have relied upon marriage to the boss’s daughter , connections, working one’s way up from the shop floor, or sheer luck. These ladders are still available but education is becoming increasingly recognised as the most important step to a good career . Of course, middle-class people still tend to be more successful in gaining educational qualifications. But the emphasis on credentials and qualifications is probably more meritocratic than a system where people are appointed simply because of their class origins. Social Mobility 1 1
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Social Mobility The Importance of Social Mobility It has an important effect on class formation . For example Giddens suggests that if the rate of social mobility is low, class solidarity will be high. A study of social mobility can provide an indication of the life chances of members of society . For example, it can show the degree to which a person’s class of origin influences his or her chances of obtaining a high status occupation. It is important to know how people respond to the experience of social mobility . For example do the downwardly mobile resent their misfortune and form a pool of dissatisfaction, which might threaten the stability of society.
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This note was uploaded on 01/02/2012 for the course SOC 201 taught by Professor Ambersmith during the Fall '09 term at N.C. State.

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pcsocmob - SocialMobility 1 SocialMobility...

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