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Patterns of Social Mobility – Social Class (SOC)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:00 Now, can you move around? And the answer is in certain situation is, yes.

    00:05 So we call it social mobility.

    00:06 It refers to the ability to move up or down within a social stratified system.

    00:11 So say for example in America, or North America.

    00:14 It is possible to live the American dream, meaning, you come in with nothing.

    00:19 I came with 40 cents in my pocket. And now, look at me I have this home, I have this car, I own a restaurant, I’m successful.

    00:26 They came in at a low class and they worked and used their mind or their hands and labored.

    00:35 and really lived the American dream. And have moved up in the social class, okay.

    00:41 You also have the ability to go the way down you can be successful.

    00:43 You can lose everything. And the next thing you know, you’re living on the streets, you’re on welfare or you’ve moved different as wrong as that social ladder.

    00:53 Now, intergenerational mobility occurs when there is a change in your social economic status between your parents and children within a family.

    01:02 So I said, here successful kids. So say for example, Again, this is probably one of the prominent dreams that you have is that you come into this country with nothing.

    01:10 And you live the American dream.

    01:12 Now, that allows you to give a better life to your kids. And all of a sudden, you came with nothing and you work your butt off and you’re able to eco a home and a life having a corner store or a restaurant or you got a decent job at the bank.

    01:27 And you provide it for your family.

    01:30 But now, your kids have their baseline over their starting from was much higher than you were at.

    01:36 So middle class or working class.

    01:38 But then, they were able to go, go to school, rate their MCAT’s, become a great doctor and now they are affluent. They are high in the NCS scale and they are very, very successful.

    01:49 And your parents got to see this. That would be an example of intergenerational mobility.

    01:53 So you have succeeded your parents.

    01:56 And between generations you have become more successful.

    02:01 Now, you can have intragenerational mobility. And this refers to change between different members of the same generation.

    02:07 So say, in your scenario, you have a sibling.

    02:12 And that sibling decided not to go to medical school. Instead they were happy being an artist.

    02:19 Which is great. But financially they are not as affluent.

    02:22 And so, they kind of just make a living. They do their art and they are happy.

    02:27 But in comparison to you, you’ve going to school, you’re world re-known surgeon.

    02:33 You might be considered higher up on the SES scale.

    02:36 And so, you’ll be eclipsed or moved up a couple of classes versus a brother or a sister.

    02:41 The example I have here is Bill Gates, who is as of this year again was the richest man in the world.

    02:48 And he has a sister.

    02:51 So I think we can clearly say, in terms of intergenerational mobility, he is attached higher than his sister in terms of SES.

    03:01 Now, Let us take a look at meritocracy. What is this? This is an idea where we would stratisfy a group -- so silently speaking based on a merit or personal effort as opposed to the other factor that we considered.

    03:15 Its great it’s an idealized system saying this would be a great idea.

    03:20 But no society really has stratified based on effort and its very rarely implemented.

    03:25 So you think, I’m going to increase your place in the society because you worked extremely hard.

    03:34 Now, a janitor who’s cleaning the floors can work exceptionally hard.

    03:39 Forty hours, sixty hour a week, cleaning toilets.

    03:42 And you can say that’s really hard work that’s backbreaking labor and you did that.

    03:46 Because you worked really hard, I’m going to have you higher up on our social ladder.

    03:50 And you could have a lazy lawyer, or a lazy doctor, only sees a few patients a day.

    03:55 And they’re going to be low because in terms of effort you’re lower.

    04:00 Now you can argue that well to become a doctor you have to put in a lot of effort but I’ll let’s move out of the equation for now. I’m just focusing in the now.

    04:07 Social effort, I mean, personal effort reflects your standing.

    04:11 And we know, we definitely know, in our society that’s not how things actually were setup.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Patterns of Social Mobility – Social Class (SOC) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Social Inequality.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. The ability to move up or down within the social stratification system.
    2. The ability to move up within the social stratification system.
    3. The ability to move down within the social stratification system.
    4. The ability to have intergenerational mobility within the social stratification system.
    1. Meritocracy.
    2. Merit Stratification.
    3. Dissimilarity Index.
    4. Social Class.
    5. Social Role.

    Author of lecture Patterns of Social Mobility – Social Class (SOC)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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