The movement of an individual (individual mobility) or group (collective mobility) from one social class or status to another. Generally, social mobility refers to movement up (upward social mobility) or down (downward social mobility) in a system of social stratification. This kind of mobility is technically called "vertical social mobility" and thus assumes a stratified situation or conditions of inequality in society. "Horizontal social mobility" refers to individual or group movement within the same social class or status grouping; referring to a change in social positioning that does not include a change in rank vis-a-vis the social order. Although in sociological literature, social mobility (and high mobility rates) are usually associated with free-open liberal democratic industrial states, this is not always the case. High rates of social mobility in these nation-states may in fact indicate the optimum structure of and maintenance of political and economic oppression. - Ralf Dahrendorf, Class and Conflict in Industrial Society (Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 1959).












   

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