The Social Structure of the USSR: Recent Soviet Studies

By Murray Yanowitch | Go to book overview

12. The Dynamics of Social Mobility
in the USSR

N. A. AITOV

Social mobility is one of the crucial developmental characteristics of the social structure. Social mobility is here defined as the transition of individuals from one social group to another or from one stratum within a social group to another. It connotes a change in the individual's social affiliation.

These changes in social affiliation can occur between generations (when a child's social position is different from that of his parents) or within a generation (when an individual's social position alters in the course of his working life). In principle, they can be vertical (transition to a group or stratum which is higher or lower on the ladder of the social hierarchy) or horizontal (transition to an equivalently placed stratum or group). In the context of socialism, however, the ladder of the social hierarchy is by no means always easy to formulate: one indicator places one social group above another, while another indicator reverses that position. Only within classes or social groups--between strata that are identified by the degree of complexity in work performed--can a reasonably clear-cut hierarchy be discerned. Thus there is no question that worker-intelligentsia and highly skilled workers stand higher than all the other working class strata with respect to

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Russian © 1982 by "Nauka" Publishers. Dinamika sotsial'nykh peremeshchenii v SSSR, Akademiia nauk SSSR, Institut sotsiologicheskikh issledovanii, Sovetskaia sotsiologiia, Vol. II, pp. 197-210.

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