UPSC SOCIOLOGY SYLLABUS – Paper 1 – Chapter 5 – Stratification and Mobility – Social mobility- open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility.
- The concept of Social mobility is closely linked to the concept of stratification.
- Social mobility means transition of individuals or groups from one position in the social hierarchy to another.
- Social mobility is an indicator of a meritocratic society and the degree to which a society lives up to the ideals of fairness.
- Instances of mobility in traditional societies are low.
- Sorokin argues that mobility is functional for society as it promotes efficiency and social order.
- It makes social hierarchies more fluid.
- Most commonly, social mobility refers to the change in wealth and social status of individuals or families.
- However, it may also refer to changes in health status, literacy rate, education, or other variables among groups such as classes, ethnic groups, or countries.
OPEN AND CLOSED SYSTEMS
- A closed system of mobility is that where norms prescribe mobility. Thus the closed system emphasizes the associative character of the hierarchy. Eg: Caste system
- In the open system, the norms prescribed encourage mobility. There are independent principles of ranking like status, class and power. In an open system, individuals are assigned to different positions in the social structure on the basis of their merit or achievement. Eg: Modern societies
MAJOR TYPES OF MOBILITY
- Social mobility typically refers to vertical mobility, which is the movement of individuals or groups up or down from one socioeconomic level to another, often by changing jobs or through marriage.
- In some instances though, social mobility is used to refer to horizontal mobility, which is the movement from one position to another within the same social level, as when someone changes between two equally prestigious occupations.
RELEVANCE OF SOCIAL MOBILITY
- Social stratification and inequality are two concepts that go hand in hand.
- The degree to which mobility is possible is directly proportional to how equal a society is. That is, a high rate of social mobility corresponds to low rates of social inequality.