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The Core of Us: Properties of the Socialization Process and the Influence of Social Class Therein

By Tim Proser

From the author:

Initially attacking this paper left me with a number of unanswered questions. The process by which people both assume and are assigned their status in life is unthinkably complex, and I was at a loss in terms of how to sum up the various systems of stratification and social influences in a way that made all this uneven distribution of wealth and resources make sense. Out of my own curiosity, I had been reading extensively about Werner Heisenberg's work at the Niels Bohr Institute, and was fascinated by the notion that the very act of human observation could influence the behavior of quantum particles. I began to see a connection between the way in which people move up and down the social ladder and the way in which quantum particles move through theoretical space. Both seem to oscillate at random; both are actually governed by the presumably innocuous force of observation. This similarity provided me the perfect metaphor with which to frame my discussion, and explain that social mobility is not entirely meritocratic, nor is it a complete roulette wheel. It is governed by the interaction of observational points of view from multiple individuals.

 

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