Social Mobility and Political Attitudes: Comparative Perspectives

1st Edition

Frederick C. Turner

Published January 30, 1991
Reference - 300 Pages
ISBN 9780887383472 - CAT# Y352161

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Different levels of social mobility characterize nations around the world. Yet until recently, we have had few empirical investigations and no systematic international comparisons of how mobility has affected the political attitudes of citizens in different countries. Scholars have assumed that mobility must be affecting attitudes, but they have not tested their assumptions. As Lipset notes in his opening remarks: "The key issue which the essays in this volume treat better and more thoroughly than any previous work is the effect of experiencing social mobility, both upward and downward, on the politics of individuals."This volume examines what sort of impact social mobility has on mass politics, and beyond that, from what sources and with what results. It seeks answers to this interrelationship by going beyond the normal sources in Western Europe and the United States, into studies of the mobility experience in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. A central conclusion is that peoples' attitudes are determined by their status of destination far more than by their status of origin or by the process of moving from one status to another.Turner holds that mobility does not simply increase through the process of economic development. It also works to rationalize and allocate the human resources that are critical elements in this process. The question of facilitating economic growth by allowing people of talent to rise to positions of authority brings into focus not only issues of social mobility and political attitude, but the very foundations of equity goals in capitalist, socialist and mixed economies.This volume provides a fundamental rethinking of the old literature on mobility and politics, and a reassessment of interpretive schemes based upon it Turner's findings indicate that much is to be learned from subjecting even cherished assumptions to the rigors of survey research and analytical techniques. The nature of the mobility experience and its political impact depends on the particularities of the nation studied. These cases permit appreciation of the role of occupational differentiation and economic development at all levels of the political and social process.

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