By Gordon Marshall

What's the relation among social category and social justice? this is often at the moment a question of public in addition to educational curiosity. during this compelling new learn the authors assemble contemporary advancements in normative brooding about social justice with new empirical findings approximately academic attainment and social mobility. the result's a path-breaking contribution to the examine of sophistication and justice, one who can be of curiosity to sociologists and political theorists for years yet to come.

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Additional info for Against the Odds?: Social Class and Social Justice in Industrial Societies

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Mobility researchers are interested instead in the quite separate issue of equality of opportunity—of access to the different (unequally advantaged) positions within that class structure—and it is this problem that we have identified as being central to the arguments of this book. With these clarifications in mind, we may now proceed to the comparative analysis of class mobility patterns, as these have been recorded by the various sample surveys. Sociologists will be aware that this is in fact one of the most intensively researched topics in contemporary social science.

The two sorts of effect can be separated out by calculating so-called odds ratios. These describe (in this particular context) comparative mobility chances, regardless of how class structures may have changed over time (or, indeed, how they may vary across societies), merely because of the various structural processes which alter the relative sizes of the classes. Odds ratios are, precisely, a measure of the relative chances of mobility and immobility of those born into different social classes—and are, 44 therefore, the best available indicator of the degree of equality and inequality of opportunity in any society.

Sen (1995) and Cohen (1989). In contrast to the philosophical precision of such discussions, note that the sociological concept of socio-economic status, which is regularly used as the dependent variable (that which people attain) in status attainment research, has a bizarre history and referent. In the most widely used index of socio-economic status (that devised by O. D. Duncan), an occupation's socio-economic status is determined by a weighted combination (p. 35 ) of the average income and years of schooling characteristic of those in the occupation (though we are never told why), but the weights are derived as those that best fit perceptions of the occupational prestige attaching to people in certain specific occupations (for the details, see Duncan 1961).

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