The Constant Flux: A Study of Class Mobility in Industrial Societies

The Constant Flux: A Study of Class Mobility in Industrial Societies

The Constant Flux: A Study of Class Mobility in Industrial Societies

The Constant Flux: A Study of Class Mobility in Industrial Societies


This study of social mobility within the developing class structures of modern industrial societies is based on a unique data-set constructed by the authors. It focuses on the Western and Eastern European experience of social and economic growth after the Second World War, but also examines the experiences of the United States, Australia, and Japan. In combining historical and statistical analyses of both trends in mobility and of cross-national similarities and differences, the authors show that wide variation at the level of observed mobility coexists with a surprising degree of constancy and commonality in underlying patterns of social fluidity.


From the conception to the completion of this study we have depended upon the support and co-operation of several institutions and a great many individuals. The main purpose of this Preface is to acknowledge their contribution and to express our thanks to them.

The study was conducted under the auspices of the CASMIN (Comparative Analysis of Social Mobility in Industrial Nations) Project, directed by Walter Müller and John H. Goldthorpe from the Institut für Sozialwissenschaften of the University of Mannheim. The project was financed between 1983 and 1988 by grants from the Stiftung Volkswagenwerk, and our first and largest debt of gratitude is to the Stiftung for making our work possible. Dr Helga Junkers was a model foundation administrator: unobtrusive yet unfailingly efficient and helpful. We can only hope that this, and the wide range of other publications that have resulted from the CASMIN project, will play their part in encouraging the Stiftung to continue with its programmes of support for the social sciences.

We would also like to express our warm thanks to Walter Müller and his colleagues at the Institut für Sozialwissenschaften for so often taking us beneath their roof and invariably providing both excellent working conditions and a most convivial atmosphere. We shall always retain happy memories of the 'old days' of the Institut at Tattersallstrasse 2.

Likewise essential to our enterprise were two other academic bodies-- those to which we are personally affiliated: the Swedish Institute for Social Research at the University of Stockholm and Nuffield College, Oxford. They afforded us contrasting, yet equally congenial, intellectual milieux between which we could shuttle, and also a variety of infrastructural services, the total cost of which over the years of our collaboration we would not care to calculate (and trust that no one else will either). Of particular value to us were our ever-willing secretaries: Ulla Carlstedt in Stockholm, who was responsible, among many other things, for drawing most of the figures in the book; and Audrey Skeats in Oxford, who became expert in managing communications between us by all methods known to the late twentieth century.

Our study is one based on secondary analysis, and thus other institutions to which we are endebted are all those that carried out, or facilitated, the original enquiries on which we have drawn. In this respect, however, we are most keenly aware of the thanks that we owe to the individuals who were our chief 'contacts' with these enquiries. They assisted us, first of all, in acquiring the data-sets and in finding our way around the tapes and documentation; and subsequently by answering what must to them have seemed strings of tedious questions. Into this category fall: Rudolf Andorka . . .

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