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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 ?
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.
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.
She had transmuted Western culture and achievement into terms that were intelligible to the Chinese understanding.
The first three books of this, his crowning achievement, Spenser, under enthusiastic encouragement from Ralegh, brought to London and published in 1590.
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.
The Chronicle's annual campaign aims to celebrate the achievements of 14 to 25-year-olds from across the region.
Earlier in the year, at the first of a series of NCLB summits--this one in Philadelphia--Spellings lauded the Philadelphia School District's NCLB achievements under its chief executive officer, Paul Vallas, who has been implementing sweeping district-wide reforms since 2002.
The role of parents is strengthened when they meaningfully participate in their children's educational achievements.
Peabody-style glasses, he read the mission statement of the Kennys: "to honor achievements in entertainment during the recent Troubles.

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