Upward Social Mobility is achievable for all. Discuss in relation to meritocracy and class in the UK.
All societies carry some form of inequality between the people in them, whether this is in terms of income, wealth or prestige (Best 2005:13). This essay will set out to examine how achievable upward social mobility is for members of society within the United Kingdom in relation to meritocracy and class.
The first section of this essay will set out to define some of the key terms that are to be used in the essay; social mobility, meritocracy and class. The second section will aim to provide some arguments as to whether there is greater social mobility in the UK in relation to a person’s class origins. The third section will focus on meritocracy, examining how important ability and effort are in relation to social mobility and it will aim to discuss the UK as a meritocracy. The fourth section will look at some more recent studies of social mobility in the UK. Finally, the essay will aim to draw up a conclusion as to whether it is class factors or meritocracy that influence the levels of social mobility the most. It will also aim to answer how achievable upward social mobility is for people of different origins.
This essay will be examining three sociological concepts. The first is social mobility which is the movement of individuals or groups between different socio-economic positions (Marshall 1998: 422). Upward social mobility is when individuals gain in property, income or status and it has proved to occur much more often than those who move in the opposite direction which is known as downward social mobility. There are different ways in which social scientists look at social mobility. Absolute mobility refers to the changes in the class structure or average incomes of society as a whole whereas relative mobility looks at changes in the class position or income of individuals in relation to the rest of society (Social Mobility Commission)...