Social Mobility for the 21st Century addresses experiences of social mobility, and the detailed processes through which entrenched, intergenerationally transmitted privilege is reproduced. Contributions include (but are not limited to) family relationships, students’ encounters with higher education, narratives of work careers, and ‘mobility identities’. The book intends to challenge both the framework of the more traditional approach, and the politicisation of mobility which casts ‘mobility’ as a possession, a commodity or a character trait, and threatens to castigate the ‘non-mobile’ as carrying a personal responsibility for their situation.

This book presents critical analyses of routes into social mobility, the experience of social mobility, and the political and social implications of social mobility’s ‘panacea’ status. Drawing on the work of established scholars and more recent entrants, the chapters offer a fresh look at social mobility, opening up the topic to a wider readership among the profession and beyond, and stimulating further debate. This book will appeal to higher level students and scholars of sociology alike, as well as having a broad cross-disciplinary appeal.

chapter |12 pages


Everyone a winner?

chapter 1|12 pages

Social mobility

Which ways now?

chapter 2|12 pages

Disruption in the working-class family

The early origins of social mobility and habitus clivé

chapter 3|17 pages

Mobile immobilities

The formation of habitus in ‘disadvantaged’ families

chapter 4|13 pages

Getting up and staying up

Understanding social mobility over three generations in Britain

chapter 5|13 pages

Time, accumulation and trajectory

Bourdieu and social mobility

chapter 6|13 pages

Moving on up?

Social mobility, class and higher education

chapter 7|12 pages

‘To become upwardly mobile you have to be a Swede’

Women’s upward class mobility in the neo-liberal Swedish welfare state context

chapter 8|13 pages

Experiencing upward mobility

The case of self-employed businessmen

chapter 9|15 pages

Social mobility talk

Class-making in neo-liberal times

chapter 10|13 pages

Promoting young people’s social mobility

Applying sociological perspectives to frame social policy objectives

chapter 11|12 pages

The cruelty of social mobility

Individual success at the cost of collective failure