Angela J. Ratcliffe
Sociological Persp Class Ethnicity & Gender | SOC416 A01
Instructor: Andrea Harris
September 12, 2012
When people move up or down the social ladder within their lifetime from one generation to the next, we can identify this movement as social mobility. Whether or not these people have the same chance of moving up is the idea behind the equality of opportunity. When studying social classes, the question remains: Is it possible for people to move within a society's stratification system? “Social stratification is a set of hierarchical relationships among different groups as though they were arranged in layers or “strata.”(Miller, 2010 p.156). It describes the way in which different groups of people are placed within society.
The United States is predicated on a class system and extensive significance is placed on its being a meritocracy. As a result, it can be challenging for an individual to conceptualize or recognize the role that social barriers play in personal mobility. “The Industrial Age and the formation of the middle class allowed for great social mobility in American society” (Argosy University, 2012 p.2).
There are several patterns of social mobility. One way to measure social mobility is to see whether rich parents have rich children and poor parents have poor children, or if to see if poor parents have children who become rich by education or hard work. “Basically social mobility refers to the likelihood that a child will grow up into adulthood and attain a higher level of economic and social wellbeing than his or her family of origin” (Little, 2009 par.3). Intragenerational mobility refers to a change in an individual's social standing by working or climbing the corporate ladder within one's lifetime. Intergenerational mobility refers to a change in social standing across generations and is measured by comparing the social-class position of children with that of...