Reconfiguration of Social Class and Work in the Globalizing World

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:50
Oral Presentation
Kwang-Yeong SHIN, Department of sociology, Chung-Ang University, Republic of Korea
This paper explores the reconfiguration of the relationship among class, gender, and nationality in determining inequality in South Korea in the 21st century. Production and work go beyond the boundary of the nation-state due to globalization. Discussing the limitation of the classical approaches to social class and inequality, this paper suggests a new sociological approach by emphasizing the shift of temporal and spatial bases of social stratification and inequality in the globalizing world. Globalization has transformed the temporal basis of social class, undermining the employment system. Scientific and technological innovation have threatened the long-term contract between employers and employees, changing the structure of labor contract and diversifying workers’ status by the type of contract. It has also transformed the spatial basis of social class, weakening the boundary of capital and labor embedded in the nation-state. The massive mobility of capital and labor across national boundary has transformed social stratification and inequality with the formation of foreign manual workers as the lowest social strata and at the same time the rise of the high strata professionals working in the transnational corporations in each country. In South Korea, however, those changes have been accelerated by the financial crisis in 1997, generating larger class inequality and poverty.