What role has social mobility played in the structuring of modern society? Are mature industrial societies more 'open' than their predecessors? These, essentially historical, questions have long been at the core of sociological work on social mobility, yet have received no sustained attention from British historians. In this ground breaking study, Andrew Miles subjects historical evidence of intergenerational and career mobility from the records on nineteenth-century marriages and autobiographical testimony to the analytical techniques developed by social scientists. In contrast to John Godthorpe's conclusions for the twentieth century, he demonstrates that the increase in mobility which accompanied the growth of an increasingly urbanised and bureaucratic service economy over the second half of the nineteenth century made English society more 'open', while simultaneously giving rise to a process of working-class formation which helped shape the emergence of modern Labour politics.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan