Methodology of Social Mobility Research
This study was undertaken through analysis of the UK labor sector and the economy at large. In particular, the study focused into understanding the nature of the UK labor market that would eventually inform the nature of social mobility in the country. In particular, this study investigated the factors that contribute to the current state of social mobility in UK which is considered distinct in isolation from other countries such as Canada. This study was conducted through critical review of information from the government sources as well as various reports that forms the basis for analyzing both regional and global economic performances based on the labor patterns and markets.
In addition, the study was carried out through group findings where individuals focused into understanding social lifestyles of the UK public by inquiring into their individual social lives as well as the group traits in the formation of labor insights. The inquiries into individuals also revealed the actual feeling that specific genders have regarding their performances on both part-time placements and full-time placement which was believed to have an impact on their mobility.
3.2. Research Philosophy
This study was particularly based on the analysis of UK as a case with minor contrast with other countries of similar economic performances. In this regard, the study employed a phenomenological paradigm to analyze and inculcate the importance of each player as far as understanding the trend in social mobility is concerned. In particular, this approach was critical to determining the difference in mobility between UK and other developed countries with multiple variances such as incomes and education among others. The expectation of the respondents was also crucial to understanding the essence of different variables such as incomes in determining social classes in the society and a long-term effect of intergenerational change due to education. Besides, this phenomenological paradigm also provides a platform for understanding the changes in social mobility across different cohorts as can be deliberated upon by the researcher. In line with the aim of this study, it could be understood that through this philosophy, it would provide a clear framework to which social mobility in the country could be understood.
3.3. Research Design
The study employed a set of structured interview that will be conducted through face-to-face interview as well as telephone-aided interviews. In particular, the study will minimize face-to-face interviews in order to restrain the cost associated with raveling and other expenses thereon. Interviews will be conducted on individual citizens of the country in order to determine the background and education profiles that majority of the people assumed within the education system of UK. In addition this study will also include questionnaires that will supplement its data collection mechanism for particularly for the elite class of respondent typically for the upper class in the UK society.
The study used a stratified random sampling procedure where individuals were categorized into three stratus, lower class, middle class and the upper class while each of the three group were subjected to random sampling of individual respondent. In total, the study used 20 respondents from each group. This was considered ideal for the study due to cost consideration and the representation of the entire population. In order to supplement the population however, the study also sought out for government reports and analysis that would inform some of the findings into the topic based on the previous year and future prospects.
3.4. Theoretical Research
This study adopted the view of Bourdieu's Theory in order to explain the impact of education on the societal inequalities. In particular, the theory informed this study on matters pertaining impact of education on reducing or promoting inequality which also translates into reduced mobility or otherwise. In particular, class inequality in the society is believed to have a significant impact on the social mobility in the society. In addition, this study encompassed secondary research that reviewed a range of literary sources that provides succinct information to the concept of social mobility, its classification and prerequisites category as far as social classes are concerned.
Factors Causing Change in Social Mobility in UK
K has been identified as one of the countries with the least social mobility among the developed countries. It has also been discovered that countries with the lowest social mobility are considerable less progressive in terms of their labor force and social classes. Low class development is one of the catalysts of social mobility as it involves increased ability to secure well-paid jobs as well as proper assertion in the society. However, the poor social class in UK like in other societies has a low zeal to determine their positions in the society besides suffering low chances of future growth. Inability to fit effectively in the society due to poverty is one of the aspects that deny the poor or lower class in achieving higher positions in the society. This scenario is associated with prolonged existence of low class in the society through intergenerational devolvement of poverty across generation of families.
The strong link between education attainment and family incomes is deeply rooted in the British states of low mobile culture. Educational attainment has also been perceived as the main route to achieving intergenerational mobility. Subsequently, the role of education in the declining social mobility in UK can never be downplayed. Rapid increase in inequality in UK which set pace in 1979 is often expressed by increased meritocratic nature of the country’s population although it has not been fully realized. In this regard, the public in UK is able to become rich at will through hard work and other mechanism applicable than it had been the case earlier. In UK, recent studies show that social mobility has declined significantly. Subsequently, children that are born to poor families are less likely to become rich and perhaps change the status of their poor families compared to the past period before 1970s.
With regard to the Staying on rates, by virtue of the parent’s incomes, children that were born to parents before 1990s were more mobile than their peers in periods afterwards. The three groups can therefore be classified through increasing mobility with time into three main cohorts namely: 1958-19770s, 1970s-1990s and 1990s – to current. From this analysis, it can be deduced that mobility might be increasing relative to recent birth rates. In particular, the stay on rates has also increased between 1974 and 1990s for all young individuals from different income groups. The speed of growth is however varied considerably for youths across different periods. Between 1974 and 1986 however, it is clear that the children’s staying on rates from rich families had been increasing very fast thus, a resultant increase in education inequality in the country. However, between 1986 and 1990s, the staying on rates for children from poor families started rising rapidly resulting into an inverse scenario in education inequality (Tiffin & Parker 2005). After 1990s, young children from poor families have assumed a higher stay on rates in the post-compulsory level of education than any other time in history. This scenario is very likely to be a product of introduced General Certificate of Secondary Education in UK.
Between 1981 and 1990s, the number of children from poor families graduating with GCSE has increased by merely 3% relative to 26% increase in children graduating from rich families. From this outcome, it is clear that the expanded higher education system in UK benefited individuals from richer families more than their poor counterparts. This scenario occurred for period of time when the means-tested scholars support reduced sharply signaling a major shift. The latter findings could be used as a precautionary measure against increasing school fees in institutions of higher learning which would result in sudden decline in higher education attainment among the poor families.
In earlier scenarios based on UK, increase in number of students in schools has failed to raise the participation of children from poor households. Instead, minimizing the costs of education was identified as one of the mechanism that can drive the participation of poor children in education in the long-run. It is very important for such mechanism to be adopted in order to expand higher education opportunities that would embrace a balance between the poor and the rich through provision of fair access and generous grants to educational attainments (Musterd & De Vos 2003). In this regard, the relationship between income and education attainment has an indirect impact on social mobility of the society as it influences children’s access to education and their readiness for employment in future.
The findings generated from this study also suggests that the links in intergenerational links in UK are very strong implying that the current level of policy development could be insufficient for the goals they are intended to achieves. For UK to achieve high social mobility in future, it would be recommendable for the country to developed mechanisms that would equalize opportunities across all classes in addition to making careful policy evaluation to assist in understanding the impact of policy interventions in narrowing down intergenerational inequalities. These findings are also in line with the Bourdieu's theory (Sullivan 2002).
The Bourdieu's theory provides a critical reference to the impact of education system that has been grossly reflected in the UK system particularly in the second cohort of analysis of this study between 1970s and 1990s. Bourdieu's theory asserts that the systems of education in industrialized countries functions in a manner that legitimizes class inequalities (Sullivan 2002). In particular, significant class inequalities have been signified by small percentage of individuals accessing quality education from a 7% proportion of private schools while the rest can hardly achieve meaningful education in the country.
Subsequently, as Bourdieu's claim, the success attributable to the education system is framed on the possessed cultural capital as well as the high class habitus. In such instances, children from poor families have no such traits in general which results in an inevitable failure of the group of poor children. From the facts identified earlier in this study, high level of inequality is a catalyst for low social mobility. In UK, there has been a long-term report demonstrating very low social mobility which is therefore defined by poor status of children in majority of schools across the country (Bertaux & Thompson 2006).
As Bourdieu's posits high class inequality is inevitable in such a scenario. Small population with high academic attainment has been one of the main features of the UK education system which over time with reasonably low resilient workforce generated from poor bridge between access to quality education by both poor and the rich students. Bourdieu's therefore supports the impact of education in legitimizing social inequalities since the high class individuals are perceived to demand more elaborate place in the society’s social structure (Sullivan 2002).
Bourdieu also asserts that the cultural capital entails the familiarity regarding the dominant culture as well as the capacity to manipulated sophisticated language. In this case, highly educated group rules over their counterparts. In addition, Bourdieu also focuses on the ability of the upper class to buy out and possess cultural capital by the upper class. With the cultural capital, the group runs the social aspects of the society while the less dominant group follows (Sullivan 2002). This scenario is also crucial in understanding why poor children hardly succeed in education.
As Bourdieu theory claims, education overlooks the possession of cultural capital thus, resulting into failure of the poor children into excelling in education attainment. As Bourdieu assert, education system overlooks hypothesizes the possessions of cultural capital that very few students possess hence leading to high level of inefficiency in transmission of pedagogy through education. This framework informs the resultant poor impact of education in UK where minority have access to high level of education by virtue of cost of access and family association with education attainment that trickles down to individual children (Sullivan 2002).
Generally, there is a consistent finding that the family income impacts directly on educational attainment. Nevertheless, family income does not provide a guaranteed result of high educational attainment of the children but offers insight to future wealth creation capacity of the children. It is however hard to determine if the causal impact of wealth on education has been altered across different time cohorts. Nevertheless, family income differences between poor and rich children are small relative to the entire gap in achievements between poor and rich children. This means that policies aimed at enhancing intergenerational mobility must also gear up towards raising children’s achievement through the targeted services besides considering the redistribution of income.
The international differences in social mobility are often hard to identify due to existence of poor quality of comparative data. However, the available evidence provides an assertion that Britain is less socially mobile relative to other countries worldwide. The existing relationship between parents’ incomes and their children is stronger in UK relative to other countries of its caliber as presented by the Organization for Co-operation and Development (OECD). Overall, the effect of parental incomes is more than 1.5 times higher in UK relative to Germany, Australia and Canada. The rates of the country’s absolute occupational mobility are also lower relative to other international averages for men besides being at the bottom of the international range for women (Loury & Teles 2005). Despite the fact that this scenario is largely impacted by the labor market, the importance of social background cannot be ignored.
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