When the nobles (second estate) and later

When
the topic social mobility arises, we naturally question ourselves: Is it
possible to move through the hierarchy of a society? Social mobility is
possible to a certain degree in most of the cultures and societies that exist
nowadays. My purpose with this paper is to prove that more chances are
available in the society we live in and that the term is not just a bedtime
story, but an existing and working system. Social mobility is the movement of
individuals, groups, families or households between the layers in the open
system of social stratification. (Wikipedia) This
term is used in sociology the most, but it does apply to social history as
well. We differentiate two major types of social mobility: vertical and
horizontal. Horizontal mobility does not include the movement between social
classes, the term is only used if there is a change in the occupation of the
individual, it only involves moving within the given social status. On the
other hand, vertical mobility is the classical type of social mobility that can
be either upward or downward. In the age of capitalism, wealth provides upward
movement; a working class person can easily achieve this if he or she owns some
kind of social capital, possibly keeping this status and class for further
generations, that is called intergenerational mobility. Social mobility can be
witnessed by everyone, in most of the modern societies as it is now more likely
to be decided by achievements, such as economic position, prestige or sometimes
origin(noble ascendants). However, as mentioned before, in certain cultures or
societies, social mobility is still limited or it does not exist. For example, in
India the caste system still affects the life of people as you can not move
from one layer or another, moreover intermarriage is not allowed either (endogamy)
The ability of movement between different layers existed in medieval ages until
early modern ages(until around the start of Industrial Revolution) as well. The
so-called ‘estates’ were used in feudalism where the society consisted of three
estates: the clergy (first estate), the nobles (second estate) and later on the
peasants (as the third estate).Movement between the layers was already
possible, however it was limited to a certain degree and it did not occur very
often. Now that I briefly introduced the topic and clarified the main concepts
I will move on the main arguments.

„Change
originates not only from above, but equally from below, through the initiatives
of masses of people” (Daniel Bertaux)
As Daniel Betaux and Paul Thompson claimed, mobility is influenced by the
masses mostly. The two authors also introduced a unique and new approach to
social mobility research where they used qualititive methods instead of only
statistics. This consisted of interviews, very similar used in oral history,
and family case studies to be able to get a close look on the dynamics of social
mobility.The studies show the degree of social mobility through decades in the
given society. It has been proven that migration and marriage plays an enormous
role in the procedure. As globalization is getting more and more relevant in
the 21st century, migration is already a well known phenomenon. Many individual
have the chance in different countries to gain various kind of social capital due
tot he bigger variety of jobs abroad, this for example can be more effectively
achieved in a Western and developed country, than in an Eastern one. Moreover,
migration allows people to build several different relations (even marriages)
that helps the change between the different layers in the hierarchy. Marriages give
the chance to individuals to create a family which will most likely end up in
children. By putting together the social capital of the parents, the children will
most likely start off with better chances for a possible change in the open
system of social stratification. However, not only financial factors increase
the possiblity of movement, but the way parents influence the children while
they raise them. The proper motivation they provide plays a huge role and can
be essential in order to succeed at and older age. A study from 2006 called „Understanding
Mobility in America” claimed that while only one percent of the poorer families
have the chance to reach the top 5 percent of income distribution (against
naturally wealthier familes who have 22 percent probability to reach this) they
still do stand some kind of chance, additionally the USA has lower level of
intergenerational mobility than other Western countries such as the UK. Education
also have a great impact on this. Facilities with educational purposes (for
example school) also have a hidden curriculum alongside the formal one. While
the formal curriculum is a series of planned objectives, learning experience
and resource offering to the students, the hidden curriculum offers more than
this. The unofficial curriculum consists of everything that are not in the official
curriculum. For example our peers, the people we are surrounded by, greatly
effects our future life, including our chances for a possible change in the
hierarchy. The hidden curriculum includes every factor of the so called socialization,
we learn different values and about meritocracy. Meritocracy,the idea of
economic goods should be given out based on the given individual’s talent or
merits.

As
we all speak of this, there are still several factors that can not go unseen.
As social mobility is more common and possible since the middle of the 20th
century. By this time, the idea of origin became less relevant, and Western
societies supported the idea of the equal rights of every fellow citizen. But
what else happened during this century? The idea of equality is truly an
outstanding concept, but in that time period. However, the increase that we can
see during the 20th century regarding social mobility is mostly thanks tot he increasing
amount of countries giving rights to woman. Woman started to acquire different
kind of rights in this time period thanks to the feminists movements in that
era. As woman had (sadly have sometimes) very limited amount of choice due to
the patriarchal system, and were considered mostly as mothers who only act at
home such as cleaning, taking care of the children, cooking and so on. With the
increasing demonstrations, woman slowly started to gain various rights such as
the freedom of movement, by the end of the 20th century they were able to work.
Different kinds of inequalites have a huge impact if we are or we are not able
to change our place in the hierarchy. As woman were able to work, decreasing
inequality between the two genders, social mobility also became more and more flexible.
They were able to gain different kinds of social capital or economic goods that
helped them in a possible change. Not only work, but also with woman getting
involved in education more commonly, the previously mentioned curriculum could
affect a bigger amount of people as it now included females as well. But does
this all mean that every type of inequality influences the chances of social
mobility? Not neccessarily, but it definitely plays a huge role in the whole
procedure. If we try to find other factors that influence our chances, we will most
likely find more and more type of inequalites. For instance, if we look at an Afro-American,
do they stand the same chance as for example other white people? The answer would
be no. Not only inequalites between the two races decided this however. If we
think about it throughly, racism sadly is still present and it also affects the
possibilites of the individual.