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Bearman, Peter S. & Deane, Glenn D. (1992). The Structure of Opportunity: Middle-Class Mobility in England, 1548-1689. American Journal of Sociology, 98, 30-66.


Models that allow the decomposition of mobility into its structural and exchange components are used to identify the structure, and consequences, of middle-class intergenerational mobility in preindustrial (1548-1689) Norwich, England. Dramatic shifts in the mobility opportunities of sons over time are seen to yield distinct political outcomes. Political stability is associated with almost universal upward mobility in the period from 1548 to 1589, while from 1590 to 1639 structural processes leading to massive downward mobility are associated with increased radicalization and participation in the English civil war. From 1640 to 1689, strata persistence in an unstable political context prevailed.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Sociology


Bearman, Peter S.
Deane, Glenn D.