Social Mobility Meaning
Social mobility is a concept as elusive as it seems obvious. It refers to changes or movements between social positions. Economists measure it in terms of income while sociologists focus on occupational status, but a general definition would be,” the movement or opportunities for movement between different social classes or occupational groups.”
Keeping in mind this definition, it is natural to assume social mobility to be a measure of social fairness. However, it should be kept in mind that it has both positive and negative value. While an open or fluid society allows an individual to grow rapidly in his occupation and social position on the basis of his aptitude, intelligence, and hard work, it also causes individuals undue frustration and stress as a result of unsuccessful competition and strain of constantly adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings. For instance, a mobile society allowed for a clerk’s meritorious son to become a lawyer or a doctor, but the same mobility may drive a mediocre student with unfulfilled ambitions into depression.
It has been observed that mobility is always in both directions although it is less downward than upward. Social mobility is important as it has an important effect on class formation since if the rate of social mobility is low, class solidarity and cohesion is high. Also, ut indicates it is important to know how people respond to the experience of social mobility.
Social mobility is of several types- horizontal, upward, downward, inter-generational, intra-generational etc.
Several factors such as motivation, education, skills and training, migration etc affect social mobility, which in turn affects society at large. All in all, the study of social mobility cannot be ignored in the study of human society.
Notes on India
India. A nation with a population of more than 7 billion. One might end up pondering for hours over the demographic composition of this country. Men-women, elderly-young, adults-children, working-non working, dependent-independent and so on. The list is long. However, one hardly thinks of the perks and the drawbacks of belonging to each category. Especially, when it comes to the different sexes.
In a country, such as India, it is very difficult to compare everything using the same parameters. Nature created men and women with different abilities, meaning to fulfill different requirements. However, the differentiation, in the earlier times was more on the basis of ease and comfort rather than a questioning of abilities. Today, the sex-based duties have become so rigid that even a slight shift brings the dangers of a tumult.
From a very early age, girls are categorized as the more ‘delicate’ sex and boys as the ‘tougher’ ones. The inequality manifests itself in many ways with girls being expected to remain calm and quiet in all situations. Boys, on the other hand, are expected to handle responsibilities from a very early age and look after the family after the death of the father.
This patriarchal system has had its impact on the Indian society in such a manner that its benefits and vices are almost ingrained now.
Women are still not allowed to work late and men, on the other hand, are pressurized with starting to earn a living as soon as possible. This gender construct has put immense pressure on both the sexes.
What is most important today is that some amount of flexibility is added to the system. New fields are emerging that demand more and more every day from both the genders and which will not be able to reach their full potential, without getting more from the two.
The existing gender construct has changed a lot and is the amalgam of the past changes in society. However, further metamorphosis is essential.
Meaning and Notes on Indian Stratification
The word ‘stratification’ is synonymous with the terms ‘ranking’ and ‘differentiation’. The term essentially comes from the Latin word ‘Stratum’ referring to identifiable layers of sediment in the group
‘Caste’ in a similar manner, derives its origin from the Portuguese word ‘Casta’ signifying ‘race’.
Caste is a very conspicuous and, in many ways an integral part of the Indian stratified society. It is, however, a closed system, which indicates that there is very little to no change in social positions. Members of a caste achieve their social position at the time of birth and it remains the same (with little alterations) throughout their lives.
The Indian society was divided into the Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra sects during the Rig Vedic period:
●The BRAHMANAS represented the priestly class and were at the top of the hierarchy.
●The KSHATRIYAS or the royal class came next and fought wars, taking care of the defence of the area. This segment of society was advised by the Brahmanas on important matters.
●After the Kshatriyas came the VAISHYAS, who represented the business class or the merchant section.
●The lowest or the most downtrodden section was the SHUDRA, which was considered as an untouchable caste and was supposed to serve all the other higher caste.
The situation in India today shows that the then flexible caste system has now become rigid and complex with various sub-castes and ethnic groups.
There are caste based marriages followed by civil and religious privileges and disablities. This hinders the process of nation building and a general appreciation in the feeling of brotherhood.
Thus Caste, which was initially an occupation based system of differentiation has now become rigid and inflexible creating obstacles in the process of social bonding and integration.