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Current History Virtual Issue on Social Mobility



Seymour Martin Lipset and Reinhard Bendix published their book Social Mobility in Industrial Society in 1959, a pioneering effort to take a comparative look at the ability of people in countries around the world to climb the class ladder. An open class structure, promising economic opportunity for all citizens, was widely seen as conducive to political stability and healthy democracies. New middle classes would be a catalyst for democratic transitions in countries under authoritarian rule. Lately, however, this confidence has been shaken.

This collection of previously published Current History articles addresses social mobility in different regions of the world.


Social Mobility in China: Class and Stratification in the Reform Era
Volume 117, Number 800, September 2018
David S. G. Goodman

Stalled Social Mobility in Post-Soviet Russia
Volume 117, Number 801, October 2018
Theodore P. Gerber

The Great Recession and the Destruction of Minority Wealth
Volume 117, Number 802, November 2018
Douglas S. Massey and Jacob S. Rugh

New Middle Classes Reshape the Developing World
Volume 118, Number 804, January 2019
Frank-Borge Wietzke

Return Migration and Social Mobility in Mexico
Volume 118, Number 805, February 2019
Jacqueline Maria Hagan and Joshua T. Wassink

Social Policy and the New Middle Class in Central and Eastern Europe
Volume 118, Number 806, March 2019
Tomasz Inglot

Obstacles to Social Mobility in India—and the Way Forward
Volume 118, Number 807, April 2019
Anirudh Krishna

South Africa’s Precarious Black Middle Class
Volume 118, Number 808, May 2019
Roger Southall
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