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The New Social MobilityHow the Politicians Got it Wrong$
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Geoff Payne

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447310662

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447310662.001.0001

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Politicians rediscover social mobility

Politicians rediscover social mobility

(p.29) Three Politicians rediscover social mobility
The New Social Mobility

Geoff Payne

Policy Press

Although politicians previously nodded in the direction of social mobility, it was under New Labour that it became an increasingly frequent element in manifestos, ministerial speeches and policy proposals. This chapter traces mobility’s rise up the political agenda to today, showing how and when politicians invoked mobility as a solution to problems of social inequalities. Mobility ceased to be a topic of academic research as it was taken up by the politicians. Despite different stances among the parties, there was a consensus that mobility rates were low, had been declining and were lower than other countries. Calling for ‘more mobility’ neglects downward mobility. On the back of this mistaken interpretation, a veritable ‘social mobility industry’ has grown up since 2000, supported by extensive media coverage.

Keywords:   political agenda, low mobility, declining mobility, consensus, downward mobility, social mobility industry, media coverage

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