contest and sponsored mobility

Alternative patterns of intergenerational social ascent through schooling. Under contest mobility individuals have, within a basic framework of rules, a wide range of strategies or routes they can pursue in order to attain credentials associated with high status. Under sponsored mobility the alternatives are minimal and typically controlled by an élite. The former is seen as more egalitarian , since it implies open competition, with selection delayed as long as possible. Under the latter, recruits are chosen early for the ‘fast track’ by the élite or their representatives, and exclusion is practised against the rest. Ralph H. Turner, who proposed the distinction in the early 1960s, made the controversial claim that, in the United States, contest mobility is the more predominant, compared with the stronger emphasis on sponsorship in Britain and other European societies. See also closure.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • sponsored mobility — See contest and sponsored mobility …   Dictionary of sociology

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