Education and Social Mobility

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSES3012012


Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon/Winter

Course Coordinator and Team: RajshreeChanchal (C)

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: Pre-doctoral


Familiarize students with an informed understanding of how social scientists conceive, measure and explain social mobility with reference to the intersecting form of hierarchies in terms of caste, gender and class

  • Understanding and analysing the key critiques and defences of current level of social mobility and its relationship with education
  • Critically engage with the role of family and education in social reproduction

Course Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to understand the concept of class, social stratification and social mobility
  • Students will able to analyse the role of education in promoting/delimiting social mobility
  • Students will be able to critically analyse the role of family and education in social reproduction

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Unit 1- Understanding the concept of social mobility: This unit will familiarise students with the ways on how social scientists conceptualise, measure and explain social mobility. The unit will attempt to discuss various factors that play a crucial role in determining the social standing of individuals and their life chances. The unit also introduces students to existing debates around theories of social mobility and stratification.

Unit 2-Role of Education in promoting social mobility: This unit focuses on how availability of educational services facilitates or limits in paving the pathways for social mobility. It will discuss questions on the provisions of educational opportunities for diverse sections of the society. The unit attempts to capture the debates around the idea of merit and how meritocratic processes are reflected in education and employment, particularly in Indian context.

Unit 3-Understanding the role of family in paving the pathways for social mobility and aspirations:This unit tries to understand the role of family in reproducing advantages or disadvantages across generations. It explores the intersections of socioeconomic privileges in relation to various family aspirations. The unit will also address how familial ties of caste/kinship networks influence aspirations and strategies for social mobility.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Class participation (15%)
  • Book review and presentation (45%)
  • Term paper based on the readings given during the course work (40%),

Reading List:

  • Beteille, A. (2012). Caste,Class and Power:Changing Patterns of Stratification in a Tanjore Village. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. (Introduction)
  • Breen, R. (2010). Educational Expansion and Social Mobility in 20th Century. Social Forces, Vol.89(2) 365-388.
  • Giddens, A., & Sutton, A. (2010). Stratification and Social Class. In (Eds Sociology:Introductory Reading. London: Polity Press.
  • Krishna, A. (2013). Making It in India Examining Social Mobility in Three Walks of Life. Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.XLVIII,38-49.
  • Kumar, S., Heath, A., & Heath, O. (2002). Determinants of Social Mobility in Inida. Economic and Political Weekly, 2983-2987.
  • Reay, D., & Vincent, C. (2014). Theorizing Social Class and Education. Oxon: Routledge.
  • Turner, R. (2011). Sponsored and Contest Mobility and the School System. In R. Arum, I.
  • Beattie, & K. Ford, The Structure of Schooling Reading in the Sociology of Education. London:


  • Bourdieu, P. (1974). The School as a Conservative Force: Scholastic and Cultural Inequalities. In J. Eggleston, (Ed.) Contemporary Context of Research in the Sociology of Education (pp. 32-46). London: Methuen.
  • Bourdieu, P., & Parson, J. (1997). Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. London:


  • Breen, R., & Jonsson, J. O. (2005). Inequality of Opportunity in Comparative Prespective: Recent Research on Educational Attainment and Social Mobility. Annual Review of Sociology, Vol 31, 223-243.
  • Deshpande, S. (2006). Exclusive Inequalities Merit Caste and Discrimination in Indian Higher Education. Economic and Political Weekly, 2438-2444
  • Hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York:


  • Jeffery, R., Jeffery, P., & Jeffery, C. (2005).Social Inequalities and the privatisation of Secondary Education in North India. In R. Chopra, P. Jeffery, & H. Reifeld, Educational Regimes in Contemporary India (pp. 41-61). New Delhi: Sage Publications.
  • Jeffrey, C., & Lerche, J. (2000). Stating the Difference: State, Discourse and Class Reproduction in Uttar Pradesh, India. Development and Change, Vol. 31, 875-878, Vol. 31, 875-878.
  • Nambissan, G. B. (1996). Equity in Education? Schooling of Dalit Children in India. Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 31 (16/17).
  • Ray, R. (1988). The Contested Terrain of Reproduction: Class and Gender in schooling in India. British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 9 (4), 387-401.
  • Rege, S. (2010). Education as Trutiya Ratna: Towards Phule-Ambedkarite Feminist Pedagogical Practice. Economic and Political Weekly, XLV: 44, 88-98
  • Sturgis P. and Buscha, F. (2015) Increasing Inter-generational Social Mobility: Is Educational Expansion the Answer? The British Journal of Sociology 66 (3), 512-530
  • Thorat, S., & Newman, K. S. (2010). (Eds.) Blocked by Caste Economic Discrimination in Modern India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Viad, D. (2016). Patterns of Social Mobility and Role of Education in India. Contemporary South Asia, vol. 24 (3) 285-321
  • Velaskar, P. (1990). Unequal Schooling as a Factor in Reproduction of Social Inequality in India. Sociological Bulletin, 39 :1&2, 131-145
  • Ball, S. J. (2003). Class Strategies and the Education Market The Middle Class and Social Advantage. London: Routledge Falmer. (1-20)
  • Chopra, R. (2005). Sisters and Brothers Schooling, Family and Migration. In R. Chopra, P.
  • Jeffery, & H. Reifeld, Educational Regimes in Contemporary India (pp. 299-315). New Delhi:

Sage Publications.

  • Drury, D. (1993). The Iron School Master Education, Employment and the Family in India. Delhi: Hindustan Publishing Corporation.
  • Jeffery, C., Jeffery, R., & Jeffery, P. (2004). Degrees Without Freedom: The Impact of Formal Education on Dalit Young Men in North India. Development and Change, Vol 35,(5),963-986.
  • Kapadia, K. (1998). Siva & Her Sister Gender Caste and Class in Rural South India. Boulder: Westview Press.
  • Munshi, K., & Rosenzweig. (2006). Traditional Institutions Meet the Modern World:Caste,
  • Gender and Schooling in a Globalizing Economy. The American Economic Review, 1225-1252.
  • Nambissan, G. B. (2010). The Indian Middle Classes and Educational Advantage: Family
  • Strategies and Practices. In M. W. Apple, & S. Ball, (Eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Sociology of Education (pp. 285-295). Oxon: Routledge.
  • Osella, F., & Osella, C. (2000). Social Mobility in Kerala:Modernity and Identity in Conflict. Chicago: University Press Chicago. Plewis, I., and Bartley, M., (2014). Intra-generational Mobility and Educational Qualification. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. 36, 1-11.
  • Still, C. (2014). Dalits in Neoliberal Inida: An Overview. In C. Still, (Ed.) Dalits in Neoliberal India Mobility or Marginalisation? (pp. 1-43). New Delhi: Routledge.
  • Sulivan,A., Parsons, S.,Green, F., Wiggins, R., and Ploubidis, G., (2018). The Path from Social Origins to Top Jobs: Social Reproduction via Education. The Journal of Sociology, 69(3), 776- 798
  • Vaid, D. (2012). The Caste-class Association in India: An Empirical Analysis. Asian Survey, Vol.52(2), 395-422.
  • Vaid, D., & Heath, A. (2010). Unequal Opportunities:Class,Caste and Social Mobility. In A. F. Heath, & R. Jeffery, (Eds) In the Proceeding of the British Academy 159. Diversity and Change in Modern India: Economic,Social and Political Approaches (pp. 129-164). Oxford: Oxford University Press.