II. Features of Mobility in Today’s Culture:
A. Social upward mobility [i] (effects fundamental social structures of people, class, and culture)-[Intra-generational mobility, egality and meritocracy]
(definition: The ability of individuals or groups to move upward or downward in status based on wealth, occupation, education, or some other social variable–an individual’s social status can change throughout the course of his or her life [known as intra-generational mobility], or the degree to which that individual’s offspring and subsequent generations move up and down the class system [inter-generational mobility]). E.g. 1 Cor 1-positive social upward status seeking enterprise in Corinth as opposed to the inability for the Hindu society with the caste system to participate in social mobility. The ability for an individual to become wealthy out of poverty, does not necessarily indicate that there is social mobility in his or her society. Some societies with low or nonexistent social mobility afford free individuals opportunities to initiate enterprise and amass wealth, but wealth fails to “buy” entry into a higher social class. In feudal Japan and Confucianist China, wealthy merchants occupied the lowest ranks in society (at least in theory). In pre-revolutionary France, a nobleman, however poor, was from the “second estate” of society and thus superior, at least in theory, to a wealthy merchant (from the “third estate”). Early modern European societies were by definition nonegalitarian. Social position or status was determined by an individual’s place within the institutions of family and social hierarchy.
B. Capital/Economic mobility [ii] (effects financial structures) [Globality]
“The geographic dispersal of manufacturing became one of the more distinct traits in the 1980s and brought the issue of capital mobility to the fore. There have been numerous plant closings in all major industrialized countries and transfers of production jobs to lower-wage domestic or foreign locations. An important aspect of the mobility of capital is the transnationalization in the ownership and control of major corporations through foreign direct investment, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures. The United States has been one of the main objects of such investment and acquisitions (e.g. British and Dutch investors).”
Throughout recorded history, men and women have traveled great distances-in pursuit of trade, of empire, of converts, of slaves-shaping the material and spiritual culture of many places with objects and ideas from far away…We recognize then the antiquity of the interpenetration of cultures and forms of life. But we must also accept that, in our century, the balance has shifted. The ratio of what is settled to what has traveled has changed everywhere. Ideas, objects, and people from ‘outside’ are now more-and more obviously-present than they have ever been…The global cities are important in part as points of control and centers of finance of great transnational economic empires; but they are also localities, with particular social and material preconditions for their global trade….the denationalizing of urban space and the formation of new claims by transnational actors and involving contestation, raise the question-whose city is it? We can see this type of political opening with unifying capacities across national boundaries and sharpening conflicts within such boundaries. There is an intense hypermobility of capital and geography (K. Anthony Appiah, Harvard University)
C. Geographic Mobility (effects spatial structures) [Urbanality]
The early modern period was marked by considerable population movements. Yet, compared with the medieval centuries or with the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it was a time of reduced mobility, particularly in France. Thus, mobility was primarily a matter of micromobility, deriving mainly from matrimonial exchanges. Cities, by contrast, show high mobility, both socially and geographically, for a variety of reasons. The population movements in the early modern era did not present a serious threat to an essentially rural rootedness characterized by strong regional attachments.
Results of this sort of analysis suggest geographic mobility inhibits attendance indirectly through disrupting an individual’s network of social ties and bonds of community attachment. [iii]
[i] Pessen, Edward. “Mobility, Social and Economic”; Cf. Seymour M. Lipset and Reinhard Bendix, Social Mobility in Industrial Society (1959); Edward Pessen, ed., Three Centuries of Social Mobility in America (1974); Stephan Thernstrom, Poverty and Progress: Social Mobility in a Nineteenth-Century City (1963).
[ii] Sassen, Saskia. The Global City (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001); The Mobility of Labor and Capital: A Study in International Investment and Labor Flow (London: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Globalization and Its Discontents: Essays on the Mobility of People and Money (New York: New Press, 1998).
[iii] Welch, Michael, and John Baltzell, “Geographic Mobility, Social Integration, and Church Attendance” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Mar., 1981), pp. 75-91.