Vertical Social Mobility

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Abstract: As part of the Apartheid regime to secure white domination in South Africa, some 3.5 million non-whites were forcibly removed from their residences and relocated to outlying areas during the Forced Removals of 1950s to 1980s. The forced displacement of these individuals had a negative impact on their lives thus contributing to the impediment of their vertical social mobility in society. This paper aims to explore the concept of Social Mobility, through the lens of Pitirim Sorokin- a sociologist- and the effects thereof on individuals in society. These effects can be compared with that of displaced individuals owing to the forced removals in Cato Manor, District Six and Sophiatown. By using the forced removals that occurred as a basis,…show more content…
There are two main facets of social mobility, viz. vertical and horizontal. Horizontal Mobility (“shifting”) refers to transition of individuals from one social group to another, situated on the same level. Vertical social mobility refers to that of individual movement from one status to another (Sociology Guide: 6). Depending on the direction of movement (upwards or downwards), the vertical mobility can be classified into two forms i.e. ascending or descending (Sorokin: 1959: 1, pg. 133.). Vertical social mobility is the topic for this paper as it relates to how ascending vertical social mobility was hindered owing to displacement during the forced removals and how the conditions in which people were forced to live contributed to this hindrance. According to (Farooq, 2012: 2 & Sociology Guide: 6), there are various other forms of vertical social mobility. Inter-generational mobility refers to mobility of individuals from one generation to the next. For example, A farmer’s son becoming a teacher; while intra-generational mobility refers to social mobility within one generation such as receiving a promotion at work and moving from a teacher’s position to a principal’s position. Structural mobility is another form of vertical mobility, and can also be referred to as a type of forced mobility. This type of mobility refers to changes in the stratification hierarchy, rather than individual…show more content…
One must distinguish the difference between that of voluntary and involuntary displacement as they each pose different reasons and outcomes of the displacement. One type of voluntary displacement is that of migration of individuals from rural-to-urban areas. This movement is regarded as positive, as individuals move in order to seek employment in the cities and to look for better prospects and more opportunities in the urban areas as compared to what is presented in the rural areas (why ppl move pg 319). However, (1995) argues that before high economic gains can be achieved, certain other investments need to be taken into account, such as costs of travelling, costs of maintenance while looking for work, the effort involved in adapting to the new environment, as well as the psychological costs of severing ties with old connections and creating new ones. This movement comes with its own set of consequences such as over-crowding, development of squatter settlements and higher unemployment rates in urban areas. In comparison, forced displacement brings with it a different form of consequences in that individuals being forcibly displaced have no say in where they will be relocated to. This means that potentially the relocation areas could have less

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