contest and sponsored mobility

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Alternative patterns of intergenerational social ascent through schooling. Under a system of 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 a system of sponsored mobility the alternatives are minimal and typically controlled by an elite. The former is seen as more egalitarian, since it implies open contest or competition, with selection delayed as long as possible. Under the latter, recruits are chosen early by those who are already established and who sponsor their rapid rise, 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.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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