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 periodicals archive ?
A seedy eye of orange hawkweed blinks in sunlight stupidly, a mink bumbles away, a ringnecked snake among stones lifts its head like a spark, a dead young woodcock-- long dead, the mink will not touch it-- sprawls in the hatchment of its soft plumage and clutches emptiness with drawn talons.
Yet, in "Los Indios", a sketch included in Cunninghame Graham's A Hatchment (1913), to which Borges makes no reference, we found this:
His funeral hatchment hung on the north wall -as it still does -along with the list of his charitable bequests.
A shaft of sunlight beat full on an old black hatchment, making known the faded quarterings, while, underneath, a slender panel of brass, but two years old, showed that the teaching of its grim forbear had not been vain.
The tradition in eighteenth-century Halifax was that the funeral of a notable person required a hatchment.
The figurative language - spark, bumbles, hatchment - is so nearfetched that it seems to have its own literalness.
Jackie Mellows (left) and Joy Tovey prepare to hang a family hatchment in the great hall at Packwood House, near Lapworth, Warwickshire, after extensive restoration work was carried out on it.