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The success paradoxWhy we need a holistic theory of social mobility$
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Graeme Atherton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447316336

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447316336.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The success paradox

Graeme Atherton

Policy Press

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.

Keywords:   success, paradox, social mobility, education, labour mobility

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