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Experiences of Social Mobility, Transitions and Attainments

Stepping into the Elite: Trajectories of Social Achievement in India, France, and the United States by Jules Naudet (Translated from French by Renuka George), New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018; pp xxi + 354, 995.

In the field of social mobility, Jules Naudet’s Stepping into the Elite: Trajectories of Social Achievement in India, France, and the United States is a significant and unique addition. It provides a detailed analysis of social mobility of individuals belonging to different backgrounds and the comparison of their trajectories of mobility for three different countries: India, France, and the United States (US). These countries are not only geographically different, but also culturally and historically so. Through interviews of various individuals, the author tries to analyse the experience of transition from one social class to another and their continuous struggle to cope with being away from their group of origin and adjustment to their new social group.

This book analyses the tension between the background of the origin and attained groups, which is generally structured around the hypothesis of dissociation and the hypothesis of acculturation. The experience of social mobility is generally not so smooth for all the individuals. The transition from one social class/group to another takes a toll on the individual as most of them are not fully able to dissociate from their group of origin and, in trying to find legitimacy from the attained social group, which is most of the time completely different from the group of origin, they find themselves hanging in between both the groups. In order to reduce the tension between the group of origin and the attained group, a self-narrative of social success is required, which can be seen through the analysis in the book. The different approaches and narratives of social success collected from these three countries are quite interesting as the sample of the analysis is diverse and the experience of different individuals brings out various social and cultural aspects of the countries’ societies.

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Updated On : 24th Nov, 2020

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