Roebuck, Tracy Gisselle (2019) Social Class, Social Mobility and Life Chances: A Case Study On Rotherham. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This research provides an analytical overview of the possibility of social mobility and life chances for working-class people living in Rotherham. It is almost half a century since the decimation of the coal and steel industries in Rotherham which created high unemployment in the area. More recently, Rotherham has become synonymous with institutional failings, political corruption and child sexual exploitation which has created divisions within its communities. Previous studies have highlighted that community cohesion is non-existent and problematic in 21st century Rotherham. Initially, a literature review was undertaken in which questions were unveiled regarding issues on the following topics: Social Class and Social Divide within UK Society; Economic Status-Divided Britain; Social Capital, Cultural Capital and Social Mobility; Educational Performance and the Working Classes; Health and Wellbeing in Deprived Communities; Urban Regeneration. To investigate the aforementioned issues ten semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a purposive sample of Rotherham politicians and community workers. Data was gathered and analysed which highlighted the following four key themes: Importance of Education; Raising Aspirations & Sustaining Social Mobility; Rebuilding a Sense of Community & Place: Regeneration of Rotherham and Implications of class. The themes this study identified indicate that there exists a poverty of aspirations among the town’s people which is deliberated upon and discussed further within this thesis. The data indicated that education is key to gaining any type of social mobility. Furthermore, the data revealed that the town lacks cohesion and needs to rebuild its communities, and that an individual’s social class affects life chances. The research further revealed that many of the participants believe that universities in the UK are still elitist which deters many working-class students from applying. This thesis concludes that the life chances for most residents of Rotherham are somewhat limited. This research study highlighted that education is the key to social mobility and that more government investment in the education system is required to ensure that everyone has access to the same resources. It was also evident that there is poverty of aspirations in the town which participants in this study believe can be addressed with both vision and hope. Finally, the rebuilding of local communities and the regeneration of rundown areas of the town must also be addressed to give everyone living in Rotherham better life chances.

FINAL THESIS - Roebuck.pdf - Accepted Version
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