Social Mobility in Britain: The Old Evidence

  • Geoff Payne

Abstract

There can be few areas of British sociology that are so dominated by one study, as social mobility is dominated by David Glass’s Social Mobility in Britain (1954).1 In the twenty years that followed the appearance of this book, there were only a handful of mobility publications which did not rely on Glass for their empirical evidence, and those few that disagreed with the LSE study — such as Benjamin (1958) and Noble (1972 and 1975a) — were largely ignored. Leading English writers in the field of social class such as Bottomore (1965), Westergaard and Resler (1975), Worsley et al. (1977), Parkin (1971), and Giddens (1973) all quote Glass (or more precisely, Miller’s (1960) reworking of the Glass data, as the foundation of their ideas about rates of mobility. As one key figure in the second generation of mobility studies, Keith Hope, observed in 1974, Glass has

contributed materially to the theoretical debate on British stratification. Indeed, theories of British occupational mobility, so far from being derived from some broad body of speculative sociology, have tended to ground themselves in an agreed reading of the findings of the 1949 inquiry, differing from one another only in the supposed mechanisms and processes which they postulate to explain those findings. (Hope, 1975, pp. 1–2)

Keywords

Migration Depression Europe Attenuation Stratification 

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Copyright information

© Geoff Payne 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoff Payne
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Social SciencePlymouth PolytechnicUK

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