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Social Mobility and Status Attainment - Essay Example

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In an open social system of hierarchy, a person’s status is attained through effort and merit as opposed to ethnicity, religion, gender or family background. The hierarchy in the American Society is open social stratification. In this system, social class is achieved by…
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Social Mobility and Status Attainment
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Social Mobility and Status Attainment

Download file to see previous pages... The middle class is made up of media celebrities and other professionals such as local politicians, lawyers, doctors among others. The middle class comprises about half of the population. The lower class is made up of individuals who can hardly meet their basic needs. It is mainly made up of minority groups (Giddens et al. 135).
The dictionary of sociology defines social mobility as the ability of an individual or a household or a person to move either within a tier r across tiers of social hierarchy. The definition is usually associated with an open system of stratification. Individuals do not remain in the same social class. Rather they can move within sub-classes of a social class or from one class to another with variation in their occupation, wealth, and other social variables.
Downward mobility is a type of vertical social mobility in which an individual moves from one upper class to a lower class. The movement is usually caused by marriage or changing jobs. High-level individuals convicted of a crime are liable to downward mobility. For example, Bernie Madoff moved from a powerful executive in Wall Street to a prison inmate.
Upward mobility is a type of vertical mobility that involves the movement of an individual from a lower social class to a higher one. Like downward mobility, upward mobility usually occurs when an individual changes jobs or gets married. An example of a person who experienced upward mobility is President Barrack Obama. He moved from a middle-class interracial couple’s child to become the President of US.(Giddens et al. 165 )
It is not practically possible to go up the ladder to the top of the social class. There exist several impediments to upward social mobility. They include stereotypic perceptions, less education and training coupled with difficulty in accessing additional training, and low job perceptions especially ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Society” (Hurst, 2010, p. 313). In this article, Hurst actually presented different studies concerning the degree of social mobility in American society, in which results of these studies indicated that the overall trend of social mobility in the U.S. was not uniform across time (Hurst, 2010).
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