Looking at Past and Present Inequalities for a Less Unequal Future

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 10:45-12:15
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
RC07 Futures Research (host committee)
WG02 Historical and Comparative Sociology

Language: English

Equality and social justice have always been on the agenda of sociology.  Meanings attributed to them remain the subject of philosophical and ideological debates. Yet these two values are deeply rooted in the practice of our discipline. We look at the social distribution of material and symbolic goods aiming to make them more efficient, more productive, more just – i.e., to a large extent, we trust sociology may concur to better developments in the future. 
At the same time, research on social inequality has been circumscribed by the focus on the nation-state. Studies of global inequality overwhelmingly consist of comparisons of wealth and income between nations. Yet neither a focus on patterns of global stratification nor towards spatial relations across national boundaries follow from such studies. Nor has the innovative potential of feminist theorists’ demands for full-fledged incorporation of gender inequalities and supra- and subnational inequality contexts substantially transformed the analytical framework of studies of social inequalities. New conceptualisations largely leave structural inequalities of gender, race, and ethnicity untouched and, in the process, maintain the nation-state framework to which the classical dimensions of class and status were tailored. 
The session will therefore inquire how sociologists have conceptualized equality, how they explain historical patterns of inequality, and what questioning the nation-state framework and consideration of structural gender, racial and ethnic disparities do to our efforts to promote more just patterns of distribution in the future. Theoretical and empirical approaches to such questions and critical analysis are welcomed.
Session Organizer:
Elisa REIS, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Corporate Elite Networks and Social Inequalities Around the World
Julian CARDENAS, Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany
Solidarity- Theoretical Concepts and Empirical Measurements
Katja RACKOW, University of Vechta, Germany