Manny s Social Mobility Paper

Social Mobility and Social Reproduction Paper
Social mobility is the advancing of groups of people, families, or even individuals through
the hierarchy of social stratification or hierarchy. There are various types of social mobility.
Horizontal mobility involves a change in social position without a change in social class. One
example of this is the manager of a certain company moving to another company to be the manager
there. Vertical mobility involves a change in one’s social class. Vertical social mobility could be
either upwards or downwards. An example of an upward social mobility would be a manual worker
rising to become a successful businessman. On the other hand, a wealthy aristocrat who loses all
he owns in a revolution represents an example of downward social mobility. In societies that have
been organized by social class, the chance of achieving social mobility is higher. In societies like
these, the ability of a person to move up the social ladder is depended on factors like education,
personal effort, social connections and wealth. In caste systems, individual effort does not matter
in social mobility. The social positions of people are predetermined through merit.
There are various factors that are capable of limiting social mobility, and race and gender
are among them. A considerable number of sociologists believe that social structures determine
social mobility to a great extent. This is in terms of the opportunities that are available to the
various groups in the society and not the effort of an individual. As such, the degree of possibility
of social mobility changes from one society to another. Social mobility can be intra-generational
or intergenerational. Intra-generational mobility involves a shift in the social standing of an
individual. This is common in the workforce when a person works to attain higher paying jobs in
their place of work. Intergenerational mobility, on the other hand, refers to a change in the social
class across generations. Sociologists are most interested in intergenerational mobility.
Major upheavals and societal changes can enhance the opportunity for a large number of
people to climb the social ladder. Such a mobility is known as structural mobility. The factors that
lead to structural mobility include advances in education, industrialization, and computerization.
These have caused many people to rise in social status and find jobs of a higher level than those
done by their parents. Not everyone, however, achieves social mobility. This is because there are
individual characteristics that either enhance or limit one’s ability to move socially. Factors like
ones residence, religion, health, education level and occupation determine the possibility of
individual social mobility.
Reflecting on my personal history, I cannot ignore the role that has been played by social
class. My family, in particular, has played a crucial role in my upbringing, which impacts my
perception of things and way of thinking to date. Social mobility is contributed to by a number of
factors, but as for me, I can attribute the social production and upward mobility of my family
members to education and personal effort. Education has also contributed greatly to my own
position in the society today. Starting from my grandparents, the story of my family is that of hard
work and determination. The intergenerational upward mobility of the members of my family can
be attributed to the two. In my ancestral homeland, the structural and cultural factors made it
possible for my family members to put effort into their work, determined to make sure that their
subsequent generations lead better lives.
My home country is Saudi Arabia. I was born in 1997 in the city of Riyadh from a small
family called Albatli. My father was born in 1945 and my mother in 1955. I have five brothers and
four sisters, which makes a total of ten children in our family, myself included. I am the last born
in our family. My siblings and I have been brought up in a conservative environment where we
are taught and expected to adhere to the values of Islam. My family history shows that in my
country, there are many opportunities for people achieve social mobility. This history contributes
to my own social standing today. Looking back at all that has happened in my family from the
time of my grandparents to myself, I understand what places me where I am today. The story of
my family is no different from any other rags-to-riches” story you might have heard. My
grandfather and mother lived in a small town called Huraymila to the north of the city of Riyadh.
The people of this town get on well with each other, and this is where my father and mother met.
My grandfather was a farmer and my grandmother helped him with the farm and household
activities. Grandfather owned many farms in the town, which were the main resource for the
family. At that time, oil had not yet been discovered in Saudi Arabia. The people majorly relied
on agriculture although Saudi Arabia has meager water resources. As mentioned earlier, the people
of Huraymila are very friendly and so my parents did not face any form of discrimination. My
family practices Islam and so do I. Islam is also the main religion of Saudi Arabia so religion did
not play any major role in the social mobility of my grandparents. There were no discrimination
and religious prejudice that would hinder them from achieving their goals. My grandparents used
the money that they got from the farm to educate my father.
The economy of Saudi Arabia expanded after oil was discovered and people began working
in. the only thing that could limit social mobility at that time was gender. Men had to go to work
and provide money for their families while women were to be married while they were young so
that they could bear children and take care of the home. As my mother stayed at home and took
care of us, my father found a job in the government. In the Saudi Arabia of the 1970’s, things were
completely different. Women could not attend school and get even the basic education. This is
because the society just perceived this to be wrong. My mother went to school up to only the
elementary school. She dropped out of school because many people at that time told my
grandfather that it was a shameful and inappropriate act to educate a girl. At the time, a great
number of people did not know how to read or write. They lived in small circles.
My mother is a housewife because she did not get the right education when she was young
and only went up to elementary school. Even if she might have wanted to continue studying, she
could not because of the social norms of the time. My father also dropped out of school to help my
grandfather on the farm. However, he already knew how to read and write. Ours is considered to
be a middle-class family. However, this ability to read and write combined with his personal effort
enabled him to achieve a social status higher than that of my grandparents before him. This shows
upward social mobility across generations. The fact that Saudi Arabia is a free country that
advocated for equal opportunity for all as well as the religious freedom that allowed my
grandparents to practice their religion without interference have greatly contributed to my position
in the society today.
My parents have participated a great deal in my sociological formation by teaching me the
things that I should do if I want to remain a respected member of the society. In elementary school,
my mother and father gave me advice all the time on how to live like a good student and rewarded
me for good conduct. My parents have taught me to live in peace with all the people and to show
respect to others however different they might be because we cannot all be the same. They did not
abandon this responsibility of their even when I went to High School. My parents strived to get
me a scholarship so that I can get a quality education here in the United States after my graduation
from High School. Even when I am here, my parents call me occasionally and provide me with
the money I need to make my stay here in the United States comfortable. My father encourages
me a great deal and tells me that any new place has got challenges and so if I face any challenges
here, they should serve to strengthen and not discourage me.
I have always admired people who have studies in the United States so, since I was a child,
I yearned to study here. Today, I have been given the opportunity to be here. I am happy because
I have this opportunity since I know that the education I will acquire here will make my chances
of climbing up the social ladder higher. This is because I am getting a quality education that will
make it possible for me to land a job that pays well. My social status will surely be higher than
that of my parents and this represents intergenerational upward social mobility. Since we are now
considered to be members of the middle class in the society, I am sure that the education I am
getting will get me to the high class. I will be able to raise my children well and give them the
formation that is necessary to enable them to achieve their ambitions.
The social class of the generations before me has had an impact on me. The efforts of my
father and grandparents have impacted my own social mobility. The efforts of my father and the
education he has provided for me have placed me where I am today. Today, one of the structural
factors that determine social mobility is education. Today, education is both a requirement and an
opportunity for achieving upward social mobility. As such, people who have no education today
may not have an opportunity to improve their social status. People with equal educational are
equally likely to get jobs and so their ability to achieve social mobility is equal. Timothy Eagan
(2005) argues that people must always remember that education is very necessary if they wish to
get a good job. What my family has taught me allows me to interact freely with people coming
from different social class. Through comparing my situation to that of other students in my class
today, I get an understanding of what has taken place in my life. I am determined to succeed in
life. I know the future is promising and that with hard work and determination, I can achieve all
my goals.
In conclusion, this personal narrative of the social mobility within my family has helped
me to reflect upon the things that have influenced my social position today and the factors that are
likely to advance it. The essay shows that there are various factors, both structural and social, that
determine whether one climbs up the social ladder or not. In a free society, anyone has an equal
opportunity to rise up the social ladder. This narrative explains how my family started from a poor
grandfather working as a farmer to an educated grandson who has all the opportunities at their
disposal to achieve upward intergenerational social mobility. Personally, I am undergoing
academic training to get the qualifications that will enable me to get a good job. As shown in the
essay, education today is very important for one to achieve upward social mobility. As such, people
who wish to achieve social mobility must acquire the desired educational qualifications.
Egan, T. (2005). No Degree, and No Way Back to the Middle. New York Times[New York

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