Social Mobility Essay, Research Paper
Social Mobility: A Case Study
In a world where it is hard to get ahead, some people do manage to do it. Most of us spend our lives within our strata in the stratifications system because it is very difficult to move up in the world, as we know it today. While it is quite easy to move down a strata it can also require some effort to just maintain a strata. But for some people, moving up a strata is bound to happen, whether it is a result of structural mobility, or just positional mobility as read about in Chapter 5, they seem able to accomplish a surmountable wall in search of the American dream.
Although moving up a strata is very rare in today’s society it can be done. A good example is Steve Case, a CEO for America Online, who happens to be the subject of a Newsweek article called Case Study by Jared Sandberg. Steve Case grew up with his family in Honolulu in part of the old white Anglo establishment. Some of his earliest marketing experiments included the Case Company in which he used his paper route to gain access to his neighbors’ houses so he could sell them anything from seeds, to personalized Christmas cards. In college he kept it up with anything for limos to rock concert tickets. Now he is CEO for one of the World’s largest Internet access companies while it deals with Time-Warner in a possible merger of the two companies. Making him worth an estimated $1.4 billion.
Social mobility is defined as movement through the stratification system, particularly as a result of changes in occupation, wealth or income. There are two types of social mobility; there is intergenerational mobility and intragenerational mobility. In this article over Steve Case, his is a case of intragenerational mobility, because it has happened within his lifetime, as defined by the definition of intragenerational mobility. Steve Case obtained his strata jump as a result of both structural mobility and positional mobility. Structural mobility is defined as movement through the stratification system that results from changes in the occupational structure of a society. It played a part in his social mobility because at the time when the Internet was first getting started he started a revolutionary internet service provider that became a multibillion dollar company of worldwide access to the internet through ease of use of AOL, when the economy was quickly expanding in a race of Internet Service Providers to provide easy and fast access to the electronic web.
Positional mobility played a bigger part in his social mobility from strata to strata than anything else. Positional mobility, as defined in chapter 5, is movement through the stratification system from individual efforts, accomplishments, or luck rather than from changes in the occupational structure. Steve Case’s movement up through the strata came from as much individual effort and accomplishments as anything else. Through his early experiences in marketing anything from new towelettes for Procter & Gamble to developing new kinds of pizzas for Pizza Hut, his accomplishments helped to carry him up through the strata with help from his individual effort as much as anything.
Social mobility is often seen in today’s society. With every passing day people are moving either up a strata or down a strata as a result of either positional mobility, in the case of Steve Case, or as a result of structural mobility. Either way social mobility plays an important role in our life and study of sociology because it explains how we obtained our status in society from a sociological perspective.