This chapter outlines why a new approach to understanding social mobility is required. It begins by discussing why social mobility has become such a central feature of political debate in the UK in the 2010s. It argues that social mobility is essentially about success: what it means, who achieves it and how it can be spread. However, ‘success’ in the early 21st century is a paradoxical thing. More money and more wealth does not guarantee a better life for the individual. Being richer is not the same thing as improving your happiness and wellbeing. It can also have a detrimental effect on the welfare of others. The chapter goes on to describe briefly the rest of the book which examines the political and academic discourses surrounding social mobility, followed by the education and labour market before going onto describe what a new politics for social mobility would look like.
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