Sociology consists of a myriad of frequently confusing concepts. Key Concepts in Sociology provides a comprehensive, lively and clearly-written guide to the most important concepts in the subject. It includes both what might be regarded as ‘classic’ sociological concepts, such as ‘class’, ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘community’, as well as subjects that have become increasingly prominent in recent times, such as ‘celebrity’, ‘risk’ and ‘the body’.

Each of the thirty-eight substantive entries: Defines the concept; provides a clear and compelling narrative; clarifies the main debates, perspectives and disagreements; gives advice on further reading

Key Concepts in Sociology should be the first choice for sociology students at all levels of learning.

Social Mobility

Social Mobility

Social mobility

Social mobility was described by Lipset and Bendix (1959) as acting as a societal ‘safety valve’, insofar as people were minded to combat discontent by individual rather than collective action, thereby reducing the likelihood of class formation and class conflict and the propensity for revolutionary activity. The prospect of individual advancement was an important element in the American Dream (reflected in the stories of ‘rags to riches’ that became a perennial theme in American films and novels), which offered an almost perfect definition of social mobility:

The American dream that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been a dream ...

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