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A comparative study of social mobility exploring changes in the salience of class and merit in determining individuals' life chances.

Sullivan, Louise. (2006) A comparative study of social mobility exploring changes in the salience of class and merit in determining individuals' life chances. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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This thesis is a comparative study of social mobility, describing and explaining the movement of individuals across the occupational class structure. The 1958 National Child Development Study and 1970 British Cohort Study are used, and research contributes new knowledge to the field in two important ways: Firstly, missing data is imputed to correct for observed nonresponse bias; and secondly, a latent growth modelling framework is employed to capture inter and intragenerational mobility within a single model. The upgrading of the occupational class structure has benefited respondents from both cohorts and absolute intergenerational mobility rates increased between the two Study periods. By contrast, relative mobility rates contracted and class background became more important in securing respondents an advantaged occupational class destination. This contraction in social fluidity was matched by a decline in the value of education between the two periods. Educational attainment became less important in predicting service class destination, raising questions about the future provision of appropriate employment for the burgeoning number of graduates. Latent growth models confirm that respondents from both cohorts have on average enjoyed upward mobility across the life course. Meritocratic and cultural capital variables are used to explain model variance and their significance demonstrates that lifetime mobility involves a mixture of meritocratic and non-meritocratic factors. Latent class growth analysis recognises that the population is not homogeneous and identifies subpopulations whose members share distinctly different mobility trajectories. The upwardly mobile latent classes identified are associated with higher scores on the meritocratic variables evidencing meritocratic recruitment. For the middle class stable and working class stable latent classes the result is more ambiguous; merit or lack of it, is associated with class stability but so too is cultural capital. The identification of two downwardly mobile trajectories calls into question the meritocratic assumption that able individuals seek out class locations commensurate with their merit.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Sullivan, Louise.
Date : 2006
Contributors :
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 09 Nov 2017 12:14
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:59

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