Thursday, October 31, 2013

The ruling class persists

The same elite names have dominated Oxbridge as far back as the Norman Conquest– and there’s no sign that they’re about to be ousted any time soon. According to new research, old aristocratic names such as Baskerville, Darcy, Mandeville and Montgomery are still over-represented at Oxbridge and also among elite occupations such as medicine, law and politics.rolls at Oxford and Cambridge for 27 generations, with grave implications for social mobility in Britain. The study looked at rolls of students at Oxbridge dating back to 1170, and compared names featured then to names of today, in an effort to test the currently accepted theory that it takes just five generations for families to fall or rise to the middle of the social ladder.

Despite the many social and technological upheavals in the past millennium, the study found that the names which were at the top of the social pile when William the Conqueror was on the throne are still to be found amongst the social elite nowadays.What’s more, family names that were poor 150 years ago tend to remain outside society’s upper echelons today.

 Dr Neil Cummins and Professor Gregory Clark at the LSE, believe that English social mobility is not much better than it was in medieval times – and that social status is even more inheritable than height. “What is surprising is that between 1800 and 2011 there have been substantial institutional changes in England but no gain in rates of social mobility for society as a whole.”

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