Social Mobility in the United States

Social mobility is the process of changing a person’s social status. Concerning the United States and many other countries, this concept implies the movement of individuals or groups from one place to another or from one social class to another, as well as the movement of values ​​and goods. According to Hout (2015), the concept of regional mobility includes internal migration, emigration, and immigration. Internal migration, as well as both types of resettlement (emigration and immigration), contains the components of social mobility.

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Types of Social Mobility

There are various types of social mobility. They are divided into groups and focus on the features of the process of changing a person’s status. According to Rothman (2016), the following types of social mobility exist:

  • Intergenerational and intrasocial;
  • Vertical and horizontal;
  • Organized and structural.

Open vs. Closed Stratification Systems

Rothman (2016) argues that there are closed and open stratification systems. In a closed society, moving up the social ladder is very difficult for certain categories of people. These are cultures where there are castes, estates, and slaves. Such communities were typical for the Middle Ages. In an open society, as the author remarks, everyone has equal opportunities (Rothman, 2016). Countries with a democratic form of government, in particular, the United States can refer to these societies. The absence of obstacles to free development is a characteristic feature of this type of stratification.

Factors Affecting Occupational Mobility

The most intensive professional movement of groups and individuals is promoted by various factors and channels of occupational mobility. Rothman (2016) refers to such criteria as social reforms, revolutions, wars, scientific and technological progress, and other critical aspects of life. All these factors can have a direct impact on the individual since such cardinal alterations are fraught with a change in not only priorities but also the nature of the professional activity.

Highly Publicized Trial

Many trials are held at the local level and do not arouse public interest. However, there are such lawsuits that cause a significant social outcry and become highly publicized. One of the examples of such a case occurred in Germany in 2016 when an Afghan migrant raped and killed a young 19-year-old student (“Afghan migrant accused,” 2017). This incident became public immediately and once again raised the acute issue of refugees and global migration from disadvantaged countries.

When considering this trial regarding sociological concepts, the notion of regional mobility can be applied in this case. The migrant who came to Germany in an attempt to avoid problems in his country pursued a completely natural goal to improve his social status. Nevertheless, despite the desire for a better life, the young man could not change his behavioral habits, which was the reason for the murder. According to the investigation, the defendant uncovered many details, which he initially concealed from the representatives of the law, in particular, his age, which he understated (“Afghan migrant accused,” 2017).

Social norms and priorities supported by the native of Afghanistan pushed him to a serious and brutal crime. A significant public resonance was caused by the fact that the problem of refugees from the East was and still is relevant for Germany. European values ​​do not allow any encroachment on the life and well-being of people. Therefore, the trial of the student’s murder became known both in the press and among the population, forcing many to question the correctness of the chosen politician course.

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References

Afghan migrant accused of killing Freiburg student admits to lying about age. (2017). Web.

Hout, M. (2015). A summary of what we know about social mobility. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 657(1), 27-36.

Rothman, R. A. (2016). Inequality and stratification: Race, class, and gender (5th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

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StudyCorgi. "Social Mobility in the United States." May 4, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/social-mobility-in-the-united-states/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Social Mobility in the United States." May 4, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/social-mobility-in-the-united-states/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Social Mobility in the United States'. 4 May.

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