Contest Mobility, Social Mobility
Sponsored Mobility is a British term,
contrasted with contest mobility, to refer to a method
of identifying people at an early age for social advancement and sponsoring, or
supporting, them as they prepare for their rise to the top and then guaranteeing them a
Similarly, those not so identified or sponsored
are not supported or given opportunity and thus are destined for positions at the bottom
of the class structure.
Sponsored Mobility is different
from mobility allowance a social-security benefit payable to a disabled person to assist
with the cost of travel.
In sponsored mobility, elite status is not earned, but
given on the basis of some objective criterion. Individuals must be sponsored by one or
more members already in the elite circle in order to gain access.
Contest mobility is a British term referring to what North Americans would refer
to as social mobility through equality of opportunity.
In contest mobility, equal footing among individuals is assumed as a given. Achievement is
attributed directly to the effort put in by each contestant. The idea is also referred to
as tournament mobility.
Recruitment for positions in society is seen as a contest in which the contestants
are competing freely. Contest mobility
refers to system of social mobility in which all
individuals are seen as participants in a race and the contest is open.
On Becoming a Superintendent: Contest or Sponsored
Mobility? Moody, Charles D., Sr.
Abstract: Studied the role of such professional contacts as consultants, mentors, and
advisors (specifically Blacks) in the selection and placement of Black school
superintendents. Found that White consultants were disproportionately selected by school
boards to advise on hiring decisions. Holds that sponsorship, mentorship, and networking
control and limit minority access to positions such as the superintendency. - eric.ed.gov
Grodsky, Eric. "Sponsored Mobility in Higher
Education" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological
Association, Marriott Hotel, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Philadelphia, PA, 2005-08-12 Online
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In this paper, I apply a rational action perspective to the study of affirmative
action in higher education. I argue that the evolution of affirmative action policies in
college recruitment and admissions is best understood as a response by postsecondary
institutions to a variety of both external and internal forces. Currently popular theories
in social stratification, such as maximally maintained inequality, are ill-equipped to
account for organizational activities like affirmative action that appear to undermine
racial and ethnic stratification. I suggest that affirmative action is a variant of what
Ralph Turner call sponsored mobility. Building on Skrentny, I suggest that this form of
sponsorship may have originated as an organizational response to a perceived crisis in
legitimacy brought on by the Civil Rights struggle. Over time, however, affirmative action
became part of the normative behaviors in which even moderately competitive colleges
engage. Using data from representative samples of high school graduates in the classes of
1972, 1982 and 1992, I find persistent patterns of affirmative action for African American
students and emergent patterns for white students. Unlike race/ethnicity, however, I find
that colleges do little to reduce stratification among students based on socioeconomic
status. - allacademic.com
A Sociological Study on the Educational System and Meritocracy of Singapore: The Institute
of Technical Education as a Rewarming-Up Apparatus
SIM, Choon Kiat, (Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo)
ABSTRACT: Focusing on the rigorous selective educational system of Singapore, this paper
aims to paint a profile of the losers produced by the system and elucidate the
role of the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) where losers are enrolled.
Based on survey data gathered from students studying at ITE and elites attending Junior
Colleges, this study first illustrates the facts that there is a lack of mobility between
different tracks in Singapores educational system, and that the influence of social
classes on education exists even in meritocratic Singapore. Nonetheless, it is shown that
despite the lower social classes and academic achievements of the losers, not
only does their aspiration rise upon admission into ITE, but the average time they spend
on studies is comparable to that of the elites.
This study further demonstrates that the notion of being given a second chance and the
ability to see the prospects for a future job determine the average study hours of the
losers. It is thus concluded that there is a strong possibility that ITE
functions as a rewarming-up apparatus.
Possible factors contributing to the rise of aspirations among the losers,
including the efforts put in by ITE, are discussed at the end of the paper.
Singapores educational system is unique in that while the selection process may be
rigorous, even the losers perform well in international comparative studies on
Furthermore, it fits neither the European model of sponsored mobility nor the US-Japan
model of contest mobility. Hence, by unraveling the process of how losers
adapt to failure in a competitive system such as Singapores, this study hopes to
bring fresh viewpoints to existing theories concerning educational selection process as
well as losers in the field of Sociology of Education. -
Sponsored and Contest Mobility Revisited: An Examination of Britain and the USA
Morgan, Harriet P. - Oxford Review of Education, v16 n1 p39-54 1990
Abstract: Examines the conceptual framework of sponsored and contest mobility originated
by Ralph H. Turner to illuminate student educational mobility in the British and U.S.
educational systems in 1960. Concludes that today entry into U.S. higher education is
determined by demand rather than ability but entry into the British higher education
system is more selective, limiting access. (SLM)
Sponsored and Contest Mobility Among College Graduates: Measurement of the
Relative Openness of a Social Structure - Kinloch, Graham C. - Sociol Educ, 42, 4,
350-367, Fall '69
Abstract: This study is concerned with determining the significance of achievement and
ascriptive factors in the career mobility of graduate engineers. Difficulties regarding
the measurement of relative openness of a social structure are pointed out (Author/SE)
"Sponsored and Contest Mobility and the School System." American
Sociological Review 25 (6 December): 855-867. U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1999.