“Social Mobility” refers to the movement of an individual or group from one social position or status to that of another. People who occupy different status or places in the above said hierarchy may often change their places depending upon the opportunities made available to them.
Based on this movement of people from stratum to stratum which is called “social mobility” two systems of social stratification are distinguished:
The open society or the fluid system of stratification in which there is greater scope for movement up and down the hierarchy. The Western society with its class system of stratification is very often cited as the typical illustration of this.
The closed society or the rigid system of stratification is the second one in which the boundaries of various strata are very rigid and movement between the strata is extremely difficult, if not impossible. The Indian caste is very often mentioned here as the typical example of this. It may, however, be noted that as two broad types they are not found in pure form in any society of the world. Existing societies, however, lean towards one or the other depending upon certain economic and cultural conditions.
Education – as a Powerful Correlate of Social Stratification and Social Mobility:
There are various correlates of social stratification and mobility. These correlates vary from society to society depending upon the level of their socio-economic and technological development.
In general, in urban – industrial societies – education, occupation, income and wealth- have been found to be the main correlates of social stratification and also of mobility.