Arts and Social Sciences Journal

ISSN: 2151-6200

Open Access

How We Got Here: The Transition of Colombia’s Middle Class in Social Mobility Perspective


Consuelo Uribe Mallarino, Liany Katerin Ariza, Jaime Ramirez Moreno

In this article, we present the results of a qualitative study on representations of social classes and social mobility between classes. The self-identified middle-class group attributes itself positive characteristics such as perseverance, entrepreneurship, work ethic, and consecration to an improvement plan. Staying in the middle class is perceived as a constant struggle to survive in an adverse economic, political and social context. The social relations between the classes are perceived as highly differentiated, with little mixture and a net desire to demarcate one from the others. The elements that structure social classes, according to this perspective, include education in the first instance, occupation, income, and the amounts of cultural and social capital accumulated in a variety of family and social conditions that vary by region and place of birth amid a common context of social policies and programs that are present for all social classes. The component that enables social mobility versus immobility for social groups of similar origin is the use of the fragile opportunities available throughout life. This is how the middle class is formed and recomposed in processes of upward mobility of low fluidity and little stability. This process, for some, has not been fully achieved in the present generation, but will only be achieved in their children’s generation and in some cases, by sacrificing the expectations of parents and older siblings.


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