What is Social Mobility? Types Social Mobility

Definition of Social Mobility

Social Mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between layers or tiers in an open system of social stratification. Open stratification systems are those in which at least some value is given to achieved status characteristics in a society.

Social Mobility

Types of Mobility

Mobility stands for shift, change and movement. The change may be of a place or from one position to another. Further, change is value free i.e it cannot be said that change is for good or bad. When we prefix ‘social’ along with mobility it would imply that people or individual occupying a social position, move to another position or status.

1. Horizontal Mobility: Horizontal mobility is the transition of an individual or social object from one social group to another situated on the same level. While explaining horizontal mobility we are mainly referring to movement of individuals from one position to another of more or less equal prestige. Sorokin explains the concept of horizontal mobility still more broadly.

According to Sorokin Defines___ “Horizontal mobility refers to territorial, religious, political party, family, occupational and other horizontal shifting without any noticeable change in vertical position.” An increase of territorial circulation of individuals within Western societies since the second half of the nineteenth century indicate horizontal mobility.

2. Vertical Mobility: Vertical mobility refers to any change in the occupational, economic or political status of an individual or a group which leads to change of their position. In the words of Sorokin, by vertical social mobility is meant the relations involved in transition of an individual or a social object from one social stratum to another.

In simple words, vertical mobility stands for change of social position either upward or downward, which can be labelled as ascending or descending type of mobility. When a big businessman meets with losses in his business and is declared bankrupt, he occupies a low status. On the other hand, if a small businessman with occupational skills of money and manipulation becomes an industrialist he occupies a higher position in the social ladder. Hence his position improves in the hierarchical order.

3. Upward Mobility: When a person or a group of persons move from lower position to upper position it is called Upward Mobility e.g. a person belonging to a lower caste and occupying a lower position after winning elections becomes a Minister and occupies a higher position. He may not be able to change his caste but with his economic and political power he may move upward.

4. Downward Mobility: Downward mobility indicates that one loses his higher position and occupies a lower position. We can take the example of an individual, who is an Engineer and occupies a respectable position in the society because of his occupational position, education and may be caste.

6. Occupational Mobility: Occupational mobility means change from one occupation to another. Different occupations’ are hierarchically arranged because the incumbent of these occupations gets different economic rewards and enjoys different power, prestige and privileges based on the economic returns, authority and prestige.

Factors Effects Social Mobility

Social Mobility is effected by the following factors:

1. Motivation

2. Achievements and Failures

3. Education

4. Skills and Training

5. Migration

6. Industrialization

7. Urbanization

8. Legislation

9. Politicisation

10. Modernization