Tuesday, April 5, 2011


             Horizontal mobility is usually the result of geographic mobility. It occurs when a person or family moves from one community, neighborhood, or group to another on the same level for personal or vocational reasons. It is less common in the lower then in the middle and upper social classes because lower-class people whose work is not highly specialized can usually find work in the area in which they live. People of the middle and upper social groups, who engage in more specialized work, move from place to take advantage of new opportunities.

           Among the lower social-class group, moves are generally from rural or from urban to urban areas, with living condition in the new environment similar to those in the old. In the middle-class groups, moves are almost always toward the larger urban centers or the suburbs surrounding them.

            In upward mobility, the person has a strong motivation to improve his status. This motivation is intensified by prodding from his family and fiends and from the realization that, in a democracy, improvement is possible. To achieve a higher status, person must not only be motivated but must posses certain personality characteristic, the two most important of which is aggression and a sense of identity. If he is to win acceptance from and make a favorable impression on those who have more power and status than he, his aggression must be in right amount ad proper direction> He must behave in such a way that he will not be regarded as a “pusher”.

          Achieving a sense of identity with those with whom the person wants to be associated is far from easy. The upwardly mobile person may be in a group but not of it. Without an opportunity to associate with the people in the group that he wants to be identified with, he is deprived of opportunities to learn their interests, patterns of behavior, and values.

       The more intelligent the person, the more likely he is to be given an opportunity to be upwardly mobile. Very bright boys for example can achieve academic success which enables them to achieve vocational success. And with vocational success they have opportunities to associate with members of the higher social groups.

      The personality syndrome of the downwardly mobile person is characterized by such traits as generally poor motivation, dissatisfaction, lack of drive and energy, greater concern for security or just getting by than for achievement, and orientation toward the present, with refusal to sacrifice for the future. Downwardly mobile person have not internalized the cultural values and standards of behavior of the lager group; as a result, they are at the mercy of their impulses. Because they are dissatisfied with themselves, they create unfavorable impression on others and have difficulty making friends.

Social mobility in any form leaves its mark on the personality of the mobile person. The mark varies in severity and persistence according to the kind of mobility, but it is practically always disturbing. As Bossard has commented, “Mobility has its advantages, but I wouldn’t wish them on anyone”.

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