Ibrahim s Social Mobility and Social Reproduction Paper

Social Mobility and Social Reproduction Paper
Social mobility is the ability of a person to move in terms of their social class. It usually
happens from lower classes in the society to higher classes. The degree of possibility of social
mobility varies with different societies. People are able to move from one social class to another
in an open society that has a class system. Here, the social position that one achieves depends, not
on ascribed status, but on achieved status, such as education. There are four patterns of social
mobility which include horizontal mobility, vertical mobility, intergenerational mobility and intra-
generational mobility. If there are social changes that provide opportunities for many people to
move up the social ladder at the same time, this is referred to as structural mobility. Such changes
include industrialization and education. There are factors that determine individual mobility and
these include religion, occupation, and education level. Modernization also influences social
mobility (Heckman and Stefano, 2014) Societies with a caste system allow social mobility to a
less extent than class societies. In a caste system, the status in the society depends on merit in
meritocracies. Most sociologists hold the view that social mobility depends to a great extent on the
social structures. This entails the opportunities available to groups of people and not individual
As I look back at how my social class is informed by my history, I cannot forget the role
my family has played, as my upbringing, which has had an impact on my thinking and the way I
perceive things. Looking at social mobility and social reproduction, education has been a major
contributor to the upward social mobility of my family members. It has also contributed a great
deal to my personal social mobility. My family has a history of determination and hard work.
These are the two pillars that have made intergenerational upward social mobility in my family
possible. The cultural and structural factors in the society made the members of my family work
hard, striving to make sure they establish a better life for the subsequent generations.
I am a citizen of Saudi Arabia. The history of my family shows how my country has been
advocating for all citizens to be provided with equal opportunity to climb up the social ladder. The
history of my family is what places me where I am today on the social ladder. Through grappling
with the history of my family, I was able to reflect on and understand my positioning as an
international student in an elite college in the United States. Like most stories of upward social
mobility across generations, my ancestors were poor. My grandmother and father were shepherds,
working in a small city to the North part of Saudi Arabia called Al Ula, where they also lived.
Apart from looking after sheep, they owned a small farm where they planted crops for subsistence.
However, they would sometimes sell the surplus harvest they got from the farm to supplement the
income they got from sheep herding so that they could pay my father’s school fees. Though they
lived in poverty, they did not let it define them, they worked hard to educate my father.
My grandparents were Muslims, as I am myself. IN my country Saudi Arabia, Islam is
main religion. My grandparents, therefore, did not face any religious prejudice that could have
hindered them from achieving what they wanted. In addition, they were native Arabs in their
mother country. Race, therefore, played no major role in shaping their lives, they had access to all
the opportunities that could enable them to achieve their goals. At no point did my parents have to
emigrate from their mother country because the city of Al Ula is a peaceful one and the people
there are friendly. However, being shepherds in the dry city of Al Ula, they had to move around
looking for pasture for the sheep they looked after since they needed to be fed. As such, they were
on the move almost all the time.
Through the efforts of my grandparents, my father was able to complete his studies and get
a good job. He pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology in Saudi Arabia. Through the
education that he got, he is able to lead a better life than that of my grandparents before him. This
is a sign of an intergenerational upward social mobility. He has a good salary that enables him to
bring up his children well and set them for great opportunities to rise up the social ladder. My
father got a job almost immediately after getting his Bachelor’s Degree because, at that time, the
government of Saudi Arabia was calling for the Saudization of the economy. This means that no
foreigner would be given a job in the country if there was a qualifying Saudi Arabian for that
position. I believe that this government policy was a major contributor to my social position today
because if the government had not come up with this idea, maybe there would have been a lot of
competition in the job market which would have made it impossible for my father to get a well-
paying job. This, in turn, would have lowered his ability to pay my school fees and that of my
My father grew up with my grandparents in Al Ula. When he was of age, he traveled to
Riyadh, the Capital City of Saudi Arabia where he got his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology.
After graduating, he went to Michigan in the United States where he obtained a Master’s Degree.
He then got married to my mother in the 1980s. They got their first born in 1986. This is my eldest
brother. In 1990, my father went back to Saudi Arabia where my oldest sister was born in 1991.
In 1993, my elder brother was born. Myself I was born in 1996, followed by my younger brother
who was born in 1999. In the year 2000, my father moved with us to England where he got a
Doctorate Degree. We returned to Saudi Arabia in 2004. The last born in our family, a girl, was
born in 2008. My siblings and I have been brought up in a conservative environment where we are
expected to stick to the values of Islam.
My parents live in Riyadh. My father works for the government of Saudi Arabia while my
mother does not work. After graduating from High School, she did not further her education. My
parents have been very good to me. When I was in elementary school, they used to give me advice
on how to be a good student. They continued doing this even when I got to High School. When I
graduated from High School in 2015, my father worked tirelessly to secure me a scholarship in the
United States. My father continues to encourage me to work hard in my studies and provided me
with all that I need so that I can study well. He also tells me that the challenges I face in the United
States should not discourage me and that they should instead make me stronger.
My mother also has been of much help to me. When I was in the lower grades, she helped
me a great deal with reading and writing. She taught me the importance of being obedient and
showing respect to elders. She has taught us that we should always treat people well and live in
peace with our neighbors. The efforts of my mother helped us to grow as good people with the
moral values that are embraced in every society. Diana Kendall argues that elite women believe
that using their social power to control the circumstances under which their children grow enables
the children to learn how they can be successful adults (Kendall, 2005). My parents brought us up
in a controlled environment which informs our social positions even today.
One of my ambitions, since childhood, was to study in the United States. Today, I am a
Second-year student at Lewis University, Pursuing a Major in Information Security. I am glad to
be studying here as I know the knowledge I will get here will make me competitive in the job
market. In addition, since I have learned English, I will be able to work in many countries all over
the world once I am done with schooling. In addition, my ability to rise up the social ladder in
Saudi Arabia will be high because studying in the US gives one credit so that they can easily land
a well-paying job. Although my status in the society may not go above that of my father because
he is in the highest class in the social order. I have the opportunity to be like him. I will be able to
bring up my children well with all that they require so that they can achieve all their goals.
My grandparents’ and parents’ social class had had a great impact on my individual social
mobility. In particular, my father has influenced my social position a great deal. It is through his
education and his landing a good job that I got the opportunities that have placed me where I am.
The time when my father completed his studies gave him an opportunity to rise up the social
ladder. There were many positions that needed to be filled and so it only depended on one’s
qualifications, everyone who was qualified would get a job right away.
Structurally, education is more important in the society today than it has ever been. It is
not only an opportunity but also a prerequisite for one to move up the social ladder. This is a major
hindrance to the social mobility of illiterate people. My grandparents were not literate but they had
an opportunity to afford a better lifestyle for their children. Today no one will give a job to a person
who is not educated. However, the people who have the educational qualifications required have
an equal opportunity of getting a job. Without a good education, one cannot land a good job that
pays well. Timothy Eagan argues that even as people seek jobs, they are always reminded that
education is very necessary (Eagan, 2005). Education has become the only way through which one
can become successful, not an opportunity. Through my grandfather, education came about as a
result of social mobility, it was not the means by which social mobility was achieved. If at that
time, so much emphasis had been put on education as is the case today, it would not have been
possible to achieve social mobility.
The social and cultural capital I have gained helps me to interact well with people from
different social classes. There are students who have come to college unprepared. These are
students who want to navigate the world but the way they have been brought up has not primed
them to exploit all the opportunities available in the world. I now understand the things that are
taking place around me. I am still determined to achieve great success in my life. Bearing in mind
that my country advocates for equal opportunities for all people, I know that I can achieve success
with determination and hard work.
In conclusion, this paper has shown that several factors affect social mobility. AS the essay
shows, the social background of a person is not important in shaping social mobility is there is
equal opportunity to succeed. Anyone can gain education and get a good job that will allow them
to rise up the social ladder. The social circumstances of people differ. This narrative has shown
that one can even raise from poverty to a very high position in the society. Although my
grandfather was poor, my family is high on the social ladder. Myself I am in the process of
academic formation that will provide me with the opportunity to land a good job. In today’s
society, education is a very crucial tool in upward social mobility. Everyone who wishes to rise up
the social ladder has to have the necessary educational qualifications that will enable him or her to
get a good job.
Egan, T. (2005). No Degree, and No Way Back to the Middle. New York Times[New York
Heckman, J. J., & Mosso, S. (2014). The economics of human development and social
mobility. Annu. Rev. Econ., 6(1), 689-733.
Kendall, D. E. (2005). Splintered wooden frames. In Framing class: Media representations of
wealth and poverty in America. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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