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ISER Working Paper Series 2001-20

Social structure and life chances


Publication date

01 Sep 2001


This paper deploys a series of arguments drawn from Rawls' A Theory of Justice to demonstrate that the study of relative mobility rates implements a particular view of social justice, 'liberal equality'. Rawls himself proposes a different view, of 'democratic equality' in which the strongly meritocratic requirements of liberal equality are tempered by concerns with the actual conditions of life of the members of the society. It sets out, in general terms, the design of a programme of research that looks beyond issues of mobility between social positions, to consider the impact of positions on material conditions, and the reciprocal impact of conditions on subsequent positions, discussing also the theoretical basis of various of the measures that will be used in the study.


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