Individuals are recognized in society through the statuses they occupy and the roles they enact.
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The society as well as individuals is dynamic. Men are normally engaged in endless endeavor to enhance their statuses in society, move from lower position to higher position, secure superior job from an inferior one. For various reasons people of the higher status and position may be forced to come down to a lower status and position. Thus people in society continue to move up and down the status scale. This movement is called social mobility.
The study of social mobility is an important aspect of social stratification.Infact it is an inseparable aspect of social stratification system because the nature, form, range and degree of social mobility depends on the very nature of stratification system. Stratification system refers to the process of placing individuals in different layers or strata.
According to Wallace and Wallace social mobility is the movement of a person or persons from one social status to another.W.P Scott has defined sociology as the movement of an individual or group from one social class or social stratum to another.
Types of Social Mobility
Horizontal And Vertical Social Mobility
A distinction is made between horizontal and vertical social mobility. The former refers to change of occupational position or role of an individual or a group without involving any change in its position in the social hierarchy, the latter refers essentially to changes in the position of an individual or a group along the social hierarchy. When a rural laborer comes to the city and becomes an industrial worker or a manager takes a position in another company there are no significant changes in their position in the hierarchy. Those are the examples of horizontal mobility. Horizontal mobility is a change in position without the change in statue. It indicates a change in position within the range of the same status.
It is a movement from one status to its equalivalent.But if an industrial worker becomes a businessman or lawyer he has radically changed his position in the stratification system. This is an example of vertical mobility. Vertical mobility refers to a movement of an individual or people or groups from one status to another. It involves change within the lifetime of an individual to a higher or lower status than the person had to begin with.