Upper-class trajectories: capital-specific pathways to power
By following 21 complete birth cohorts, Maren Toft utilize sequence analysis and systematically explore pathways that lead to the Norwegian upper class during 10 years of adulthood.
This article explores a much theorized but rarely empirically investigated temporal component to the structuring of life chances at the apex of the class structure. By following 21 complete birth cohorts, I utilize sequence analysis and systematically explore pathways that lead to the Norwegian upper class during 10 years of adulthood. Separate analyses of each cohort map these trajectories at different stages of adult life and cross-cohort similarities are found. The analysis reveals that durable access is differentiated from long-range vertical mobility and a stepping stone function of middle-class attachment. Trajectories are also shown to be highly capital specific, thereby indicating that capital conversion within social space rarely traverses horizontal divisions. I argue that elite research and class analysis would benefit from approaching questions of processes of group formation in a manner that entails a systematic account of temporality while acknowledging the class structure in a multidimensional way.