Constructies van sociale mobiliteit


  • Marguerite van den Berg


Social mobility is almost always measured in terms of income, job status or educational attainment. When measured as such, Moroccan first generation women in the Netherlands are socially immobile. However, in the narratives of the women collected during 1,5 years of qualitative study among 50 women between the ages of 25 and 45, alternative defitinitions and expectations of social mobility surfaced. Acquiring better social positions in formal definitions is not a goal that these women can reach. However, learning Arabic, learning how to read, moving to a better house and emancipating from certain gender norms, can be seen as forms of ‘moving up’. Also, because these women cannot reach the ‘formal’ attainment goals, they want their sons and daughters to gain a better position. It is thus crucial to take alternative definitions and expectations of social mobility into account when studying groups like Moroccan migrant women and the second generation.