Political Attitudes, social participation and social mobility: a longitudinal analysis

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Abstract / Description of output

It is often suggested that the political attitudes and social participation which have underpinned the welfare-state democracies have depended on large amounts of upward social mobility. The demographic heterogeneity of the service class, according to this view, induced in them a willingness to lead a common political project seeking to establish a common social citizenship.As the amount of upward mobility stagnates or even begins to fall, it has then further been claimed that there might emerge a degree of ideological closure in the service class that might erode their commitment to civic values. The 1958 British birth cohort study is used to investigate this question. Longitudinal data are invaluable here because they allow us to distinguish between two hypotheses: that upward mobility as such has induced in the service class certain attitudes and propensities to participate, or that the more important influence is the early socialization through which upwardly mobile people went.The conclusion of the analysis is that, although the civic values
of the service class have not depended on upward mobility, this is much more true of cognitively able people than of others, and so is dependent on the somewhat meritocratic basis of selection into the salariat.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-434
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Volume59
Issue number3
Early online date22 Aug 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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