UPSC SOCIOLOGY SYLLABUS – Paper 1 – Chapter 5 – Stratification and Mobility – Social mobility- open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility.
- As defined by Barber, social mobility refers to movement, either upward or downward between higher or lower social classes; or more precisely, movement between one relatively full time, functionally significant social role and another that is evaluated as either higher or lower.
- Social mobility is the movement of an individual or group from one social position to another over time.
- Most commonly, social mobility refers to the change in wealth and social status of individuals or families.
TYPES OF SOCIAL MOBILITY
Several patterns of social mobility are possible:
- Horizontal mobility involves moving within the same status category. An example of this is a nurse who leaves one hospital to take a position as a nurse at another hospital.
- Vertical mobility, in contrast, involves moving from one social level to another. A promotion in rank in the Army is an example of upward mobility, while a demotion in rank is downward mobility.
- Intragenerational mobility, also termed career mobility, refers to a change in an individual’s social standing, especially in the workforce, such as occurs when an individual works his way up the corporate ladder.
- Intergenerational mobility refers to a change in social standing across generations, such as occurs when a person from a lower‐class family graduates from medical school.
- Structural mobility represents the major upheavals and changes in society and they can enhance opportunities of a large number of people to move up the Social ladder at the same time. Eg: Discovery of oil in the middle East lead to the upliftment of the whole society.
- Individual mobility is a micro view of social mobility where the determinants of mobility are race, gender, religion, occupation, etc
- Absolute mobility measures whether and by how much living standards in a society have increased or decreased.
- Relative mobility refers to the fluidity of a society. If one person moves up in relative terms, another must have moved down.
- Societies present different opportunities for mobility depending on their systems of value.
- For example, Western capitalist countries are generally meritocratic.
- In such countries, social standing is based on such personal attributes as educational attainment, income, and occupational prestige. Thus, the degree of mobility in Western capitalist states depends on the extent to which individuals have access to educational and economic opportunity.
- By contrast, in countries where religious devotion is valued over economic standing, mobility may depend upon individuals’ access to religious rituals and shows of piety.