Social Mobility vs Structural Mobility vs Exchange Mobility

Social mobility refers to change in an individual’s social class position either between their own and their parents’ social class or over the course of their working career. Social mobility has taken place between my grandmother, my mother, and me. My grandmother did not finish high school and she became an apartment manager. My mom finished high school and was able to start her own cleaning business. I am currently attending college and I work for a nonprofit organization as a disability services professional.

My mom experienced upward social mobility. My grandmother managed an apartment complex for most of her life. My mom was more successful than her mother. My mom finished school and went on to start and run her own cleaning business. I am currently on my way up the success ladder to experience upward social mobility. I am currently attending college for business administration. When I am finished, I hope to be a successful business woman. Within the past three generations of my family, we have not experienced any downward social mobility.

My mom was able to be more successful than her mother and I plan to be more successful than my mother. Structural mobility refers to change in society that allows large numbers of people to move up or down the class ladder. Structural mobility has also taken place between my grandmother, my mother, and me. My mother moved up the social class ladder because she was more successful than her mother. Because she was more successful, she had a broader social class of friends. I also moved upward on the social class ladder.

With today’s society, it is much harder to find a social class to fit in to. I have been fortunate enough to have a numerous variety of friends from different social classes because I attend college, and because of my work profession. Exchange mobility occurs when large numbers of people move up and down the social class ladder, but, on balance, the proportions of the social classes remain about the same. Right now, I do not think that my family is experiencing exchange mobility.

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It seems that our social classes are not balancing out. Since my mother moved up the ladder and I am also moving up the ladder; that means my families current social class’s ratio is 2:1. If I have a daughter later on in life, she will become the fourth generation of my family. If my daughter was unable to be as successful as I am, that would mean that she would move down the social class ladder. This would make our family experience exchange mobility because our social class’s ratio would then be 2:2.

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