Sociology Index


Horizontal Social MobilityVertical Social Mobility, Demand 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 comfortable position.

Similarly, those not identified for sponsored mobility are not supported or given equality of 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. -

Grodsky, Eric. "Sponsored Mobility in Higher Education" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.
Abstract: 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 post-secondary institutions to a variety of both external and internal forces. 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.

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 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 also 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.’ Singapore’s educational system is unique in that while the selection process may be rigorous, even the ‘losers’ perform well in international comparative studies on academic ability. It fits neither the European model of sponsored mobility nor the US-Japan model of contest mobility.

Sponsored Mobility and Contest Mobility Revisited: An Examination of Britain and the USA Today. - 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 Mobility 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.

"Sponsored Mobility and Contest Mobility and the School System." American Sociological Review 25 (6 December): 855-867. U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1999.