Skip to main content

Social mobility: the politics, the reality, the alternative

Buy Article:

$26.27 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract:

Shows how the idea of social mobility chimes in with the neoliberal agenda: if individuals can be seen to be able to move between social classes, inequality becomes less of a problem. Or, in commonsense terms, as long as there are ladders available the cleverest will always be able to climb them. Criticises notion of the ladder, e.g. David Cameron (quoting Churchill): 'We are for the ladder. Let all try their best to climb.' In the postwar period there was some mobility because of the expansion of the middle class - but not because those at the top swapped places with anyone. But now that the middle class is contracting and becoming poorer while position-swapping remains off the agenda - and at a time when inequality is growing exponentially - the notion of meritocracy or equality of opportunity is wearing very thin. The metaphor of the ladder misleadingly implies that all have the potential to climb on their own. Much better to return to the old slogan: rise with your class, not from it.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3898/136266213809450275

Publication date: December 13, 2013

More about this publication?
  • Soundings pioneers thoughtful, critical ideas on culture, society and politics. That's why leading left thinkers from Britain, Latin America, Asia, the United States and Europe debate their ideas in our pages.

    'Deeply thoughtful about the public life of politics and the intimacy of our private lives and how they interconnect. Soundings is one of the few places where you read ideas which can change your mind.' Madeleine Bunting
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
lwish/sou/2013/00000055/00000055/art00005
dcterms_title,dcterms_description,pub_keyword
6
5
20
40
5

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more