achievement


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achievement

the gaining of social position or social status as the outcome of personal effort in open competition with others, e.g. in formal examinations or competition in a market. As such, achievement is contrasted with ascription and ASCRIBED STATUS. See also PATTERN VARIABLES.

While achievement in its widest sense can be seen as a particular feature of modern, ‘open-class‘ society (see SOCIAL MOBILITY) (e.g. ‘careers open to talents’), its opposite, ascription (e.g. inheriting one'S father’s job), is a feature especially of traditional class-divided societies. However, both modes of allocation of social position and social status will usually exist in any society. One reason for this is that some positions (e.g. historically, especially GENDER ROLES) are mainly ascribed, while other positions, e.g. where skills or talents required by the society are in short supply, tend to be subject to open competition. Another reason is that there are likely to be ascriptive elements underlying achieved status (e.g. the effects of advantages of family background underlying educational achievement). See also FUNCTIONALIST THEORY OF SOCIAL STRATIFICATION, MERITOCRACY.

References in classic literature ?
His fat-soiled vegetable-garden in the nook of hills that failed of its best was a problem of engrossing importance, and when he had solved it by putting in drain-tile, the joy of the achievement was ever with him.
Ferguson came over to celebrate the housewarming that followed the achievement of the great stone fireplace.
In Ferguson's eyes was actually a suspicious moisture while the woman pressed even more closely against the man whose achievement it was.
But Don Quixote, supported by his intrepid heart, leaped on Rocinante, and bracing his buckler on his arm, brought his pike to the slope, and said, "Friend Sancho, know that I by Heaven's will have been born in this our iron age to revive revive in it the age of gold, or the golden as it is called; I am he for whom perils, mighty achievements, and valiant deeds are reserved; I am, I say again, he who is to revive the Knights of the Round Table, the Twelve of France and the Nine Worthies; and he who is to consign to oblivion the Platirs, the Tablantes, the Olivantes and Tirantes, the Phoebuses and Belianises, with the whole herd of famous knights-errant of days gone by, performing in these in which I live such exploits, marvels, and feats of arms as shall obscure their brightest deeds.
Four times he stopped, and as many times did his laughter break out afresh with the same violence as at first, whereat Don Quixote grew furious, above all when he heard him say mockingly, "Thou must know, friend Sancho, that of Heaven's will I was born in this our iron age to revive in it the golden or age of gold; I am he for whom are reserved perils, mighty achievements, valiant deeds;" and here he went on repeating the words that Don Quixote uttered the first time they heard the awful strokes.
She had transmuted Western culture and achievement into terms that were intelligible to the Chinese understanding.
Two further sentences of Lowell well summarize his whole general achievement:
Still grander, to be sure, by the nature of the two forms, was the Elizabethan achievement in the drama, which we shall consider in the next chapter; but the lyrics have the advantage in sheer delightfulness and, of course, in rapid and direct appeal.
Tim's head being powdered like a twelfth cake, and his spectacles copied with great nicety, strangers detected a close resemblance to him at the first glance, and this leading them to suspect that the other must be his wife, and emboldening them to say so without scruple, Mrs Linkinwater grew very proud of these achievements in time, and considered them among the most successful likenesses she had ever painted.
INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry and Nonwovens Industry Magazine announce the opening of nominations for the prestigious IDEA Achievement Awards.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found the average Grade 12 Science Scores of the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), one example of an assessment of science achievement, were significantly lower than the average Grade 12 NAEP Science score in 1996, with physical science scores showing statistically significant decreases (NCES 2006a).