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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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Social mobility, well-being and class

Social mobility, well-being and class

(p.123) Seven Social mobility, well-being and class
The success paradox

Graeme Atherton

Policy Press

This chapter explores the relationship between social mobility and the economic and social system. It argues the existing social mobility discourse stops short of connecting with a debate around the broader social and economic model. Equally, debates around the nature of the system rarely touch explicitly on social mobility. At the same time, more long standing concerns about what ‘success’ means in early 21st century capitalist economies, and whether the pursuit of purely economic goals is actually the best way of maximising societal welfare have led to a growing literature on economic and social well­being. However, neither the literature on alternative ways of running capitalist economies or the social mobility discourse engage with this work in a substantive way. Finally, there has been a growing literature in the last 20 years that goes beyond well­being to look at happiness and argue that we now have sufficient evidence and methodological capability to build on the philosophical claims regarding the primacy of happiness. The chapter connects the above debates together. It concludes by arguing for the importance of the growing work on understanding well­being for developing the theory of holistic social mobility.

Keywords:   well-being, happiness, holistic social mobility

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