Example research essay topic: Challenges To Upward Mobility In The American Economy – 1,177 words

Men have long dreamed of an egalitarian society, a
society in which all members are equal. In such a
society men will no longer be ranked in terms of
prestige, states, wealth and power. Clearly the
egalitarian society remains a dream. All human
societies from the simplest to the most complex
have some form of social inequality. In
particular, power and prestige are unequally
distributed between individual and social groups.
Social stratification Social stratification is a
particular form of social inequality. It refers to
the presence of social groups which are ranked one
above the other, usually in terms of the amount of
power, prestige and wealth their members possess.
Those who belong to a particular group will have
some awareness of common interests and a common
identity.

They will share a similar life style
which to some degree will distinguish them from
members of other social strata. Social Mobility in
Capitalist Society It is generally agreed that the
rate of social mobility V the amount of movement
from one stratum to another V is significantly
higher in Capitalist Society such as U.S.A. and
H.K.. In H.K., this can be exemplified by the
emergence of a large stratum of middle class
families after the 80s. This middle class sector
was seen to move upward on the social ladder and
achieved their status on the basis of talent,
ability and hard working rather than ascribed from
their class of origin. Although in recent years,
due to the northwards movement of the
manufacturing and services industry, some people
have suggested that routine white V collar workers
are undergoing a process of proletarianization.
But, generally speaking, our society can be
regarded as open, as having a relatively low
degree of closure.

Sociologists have identified
two main types of social mobility. The first,
intragenerational mobility, refers to social
mobility within a single generation. The second
type, intergenerational mobility, refers to social
mobility between generations. The significance of
social mobility The study of social mobility is
important for a number of reasons. Firstly, the
rate of social mobility may have an important
effect on class formation. If the rate of social
mobility is low, class solidarity and cohesion
will be high and distinctive class sub-cultures
and strong class identifications will tend to
develop.

Secondly, a study of social mobility can
provide an indication of the life chances of
members of society. Thirdly, it is important to
know how people respond to the experience of
social mobility. For example, do the downwardly
mobile resent their misfortune and form a pool of
dissatisfaction which might threaten the stability
of society. Apart from the above, it is also
important to know the factors which influence an
individuals chances to move upward in the class
system. Upward mobility Although there are many
ways for lower-class people can upwardly mobile to
higher-class such as gambling, stocks and or
property investment, education is the one which
provide a constant and effective upward mobility
channel for most people in society. The practical
value of education is tested by its effects on
occupational status and income.

The future career
prospects and social status of an individual are
significantly affected by the quality and quantity
of the educational opportunities available. Some
children of lower origins are upwardly mobile by
virtue of the availability of schooling,
persistence and success in school, and entry into
some higher-status occupation to which their
education admits them. Men are judged more by the
universal criteria of credentials, scholastic
achievement, and technical competence. The
educational ladder clearly leads to higher-paid
occupationally, upper social statuses, and
prestigious styles of life. Functions of education
Education is person-centred and society-centred.
It can provide the diversity of knowledge and the
acquirement of skills that offers the individual a
role of dignity and satisfying work achievement in
the community. Because, potentially, it provides
individuals with more equal opportunities, more
preparedness for job mobility and greater
capacities for using their talents.

Education is a
powerful aid to economic development and producing
skills essential to the establishment of a
modernized society. It functions are as follows:
Personal development Education communicates skills
and perspectives that cannot readily be gained in
other social settings. The school is often a place
of learning dependency, self-control and
restraint, personal growth and well-being.
Cultural transmission Formal education is
especially relied on in societies that are
culturally self-conscious. While cultural
transmission tends to emphasize respect for
tradition, values of criticism and inquiry may be
passed on as well as conservative values. In the
past, education in Hong Kong explicitly banned all
political activities in school.Government actively
to make use of education as a means for
maintaining and reinforcing a culture of political
apathy. Because the sovereignty of Hong Kong to
the PRC, political education was deemed to
realizing the ideal of Hong Kong people ruling
Hong Kong a certain extent politicized school
subjects such as liberal studies and ethics
studies are included in public examination.

There
was also increased emphasis on the understanding
and appreciation of studentss Chinese cultural
heritage and the political processes and the
history of the PRC. Social integration Formal
education is a major agency for transforming a
heterogeneous and potentially divided community
into one bound together by a common language and a
sense of common identity. The rise of national
states in Europe, for example, was aided by the
creation of systems of public education. In some
cases the effort to achieve a culturally
homogeneous community has turned education into a
system of coercive assimilation. Selection and
allocation Under mass education, the school system
takes over the job of screening and allocating.
How the individual performs in school, how far he
pursues his education, and the course of study he
chooses often determine his future occupation,
income, and prestige. The school becomes the
central mechanism for facilitating social
mobility.

The education system of Hong Kong has
been largely shaped by the meritocracy and family
values in Chinese culture, different forms of
elitism, and the pragmatism of the state
bureaucracy. The introduction of nine years of
compulsory education in 1978 turned secondary
education into a mass education. The Secondary
School Places Allocation System (SSPA), a system
in which school place allocations are based on
internal assessments of schools and Academic
Aptitude Test (AAT) results. Under SSPA, primary
school graduates can only be allocated to schools
in their catchment areas. Prestigious schools are
densely located in certain areas, such as mid
levels on Hong Kong Island. Well-off families can
afford to move to these areas so as to increase
the chances of their children getting into
desirable secondary schools.

The expansion of
tertiary education by the government as to binding
able young people to Hong Kong by offering them
extended opportunities for higher education.
Innovation In modern society, innovation has
become increasingly institutionalized, and centers
of learning are expected to contribute new ideas
and new technology. New forms of organization
emerge-notably research institutes. The allocation
and selection mechanisms in the education system
determine the opportunities of an individuals
future career prospects and social status..

Research essay sample on Challenges To Upward Mobility In The American Economy