Are Thomas Piketty’s analyses of inequality on target? Where should researchers go from here in exploring the ideas he pushed to the forefront of global conversation? In After Piketty, a cast of economists and other social scientists tackle these questions in dialogue with Piketty, in what is sure to be a much-debated book in its own right.
AIDS and Africa are indelibly linked in popular consciousness, but despite widespread awareness of the epidemic, much of the story remains hidden beneath a superficial focus on condoms, sex workers, and antiretrovirals. Africa gets lost in this equation, Daniel Jordan Smith argues, transformed into a mere vehicle to explain AIDS, and in AIDS Doesn’t Show Its Face, he offers a powerful reversal, using AIDS as a lens through which to view Africa.
Drawing on twenty years of fieldwork in Nigeria, Smith tells a story of dramatic social changes, ones implicated in the same inequalities that also factor into local perceptions about AIDS—inequalities of gender, generation, and social class. Nigerians, he shows, view both social inequality and the presence of AIDS in moral terms, as kinds of ethical failure. Mixing ethnographies that describe everyday life with pointed analyses of public health interventions, he demonstrates just how powerful these paired anxieties—medical and social—are, and how the world might better alleviate them through a more sensitive understanding of their relationship.
Animals and Inequality in the Ancient World explores the current trends in the social archaeology of human-animal relationships, focusing on the ways in which animals are used to structure, create, support, and even deconstruct social inequalities.
The authors provide a global range of case studies from both New and Old World archaeology—a royal Aztec dog burial, the monumental horse tombs of Central Asia, and the ceremonial macaw cages of ancient Mexico among them. They explore the complex relationships between people and animals in social, economic, political, and ritual contexts, incorporating animal remains from archaeological sites with artifacts, texts, and iconography to develop their interpretations.
Animals and Inequality in the Ancient World presents new data and interpretations that reveal the role of animals, their products, and their symbolism in structuring social inequalities in the ancient world. The volume will be of interest to archaeologists, especially zooarchaeologists, and classical scholars of pre-modern civilizations and societies.
Nicknamed both “Mobtown” and “Charm City” and located on the border of the North and South, Baltimore is a city of contradictions. From media depictions in The Wire to the real-life trial of police officers for the murder of Freddie Gray, Baltimore has become a quintessential example of a struggling American city. Yet the truth about Baltimore is far more complicated—and more fascinating.
To help untangle these apparent paradoxes, the editors of Baltimore Revisited have assembled a collection of over thirty experts from inside and outside academia. Together, they reveal that Baltimore has been ground zero for a slew of neoliberal policies, a place where inequality has increased as corporate interests have eagerly privatized public goods and services to maximize profits. But they also uncover how community members resist and reveal a long tradition of Baltimoreans who have fought for social justice.
The essays in this collection take readers on a tour through the city’s diverse neighborhoods, from the Lumbee Indian community in East Baltimore to the crusade for environmental justice in South Baltimore. Baltimore Revisited examines the city’s past, reflects upon the city’s present, and envisions the city’s future.
Recently U.S. media, policymakers, and commentators of all stripes have been preoccupied with the nation’s border with Mexico. Airwaves, websites, and blogs are filled with concerns over border issues: illegal immigrants, drug wars, narcotics trafficking, and “securing the border.” While this is a valid conversation, it’s rarely contrasted with the other U.S. border, with Canada—still the longest unguarded border on Earth.
In this fascinating book, originally published in Spain to much acclaim, researcher Íñigo Moré looks at the bigger picture. With a professionally trained eye, he examines the world’s “top twenty most unequal borders.” What he finds is that many of these border situations share similar characteristics. There is always illegal immigration from the poor country to the wealthy one. There is always trafficking in illegal substances. And the unequal neighbors usually regard each other with suspicion or even open hostility.
After surveying the “top twenty,” Moré explores in depth the cases of three borders: between Germany and Poland, Spain and Morocco, and the United States and Mexico. The core problem, he concludes, is not drugs or immigration or self-protection. Rather, the problem is inequality itself. Unequal borders result, he writes, from a skewed interaction among markets, people, and states. Using these findings, Moré builds a useful new framework for analyzing border dynamics from a quantitative view based on economic inequality.
The Borders of Inequality illustrates how longstanding “multidirectional misunderstandings” can exacerbate cross-border problems—and consequent public opinion. Perpetuating these misunderstandings can inflame and complicate the situation, but purposeful efforts to reduce inequality can produce promising results.
Influenced by news reports of young children brutalized by their parents, most of us see the role of child services as the prevention of severe physical abuse. But as Tina Lee shows in Catching a Case, most child welfare cases revolve around often ill-founded charges of neglect, and the parents swept into the system are generally struggling but loving, fighting to raise their children in the face of crushing poverty, violent crime, poor housing, lack of childcare, and failing schools.
Lee explored the child welfare system in New York City, observing family courts, interviewing parents and following them through the system, asking caseworkers for descriptions of their work and their decision-making processes, and discussing cases with attorneys on all sides. What she discovered about the system is troubling. Lee reveals that, in the face of draconian budget cuts and a political climate that blames the poor for their own poverty, child welfare practices have become punitive, focused on removing children from their families and on parental compliance with rules. Rather than provide needed help for families, case workers often hold parents to standards almost impossible for working-class and poor parents to meet. For instance, parents can be accused of neglect for providing inadequate childcare or housing even when they cannot afford anything better. In many cases, child welfare exacerbates family problems and sometimes drives parents further into poverty while the family court system does little to protect their rights.
Catching a Case is a much-needed wake-up call to improve the child welfare system, and to offer more comprehensive social services that will allow all children to thrive.
Originally published in 1983, The Changing Face of Inequality is the first systematic social history of a major American city undergoing industrialization. Zunz examines Detroit's evolution between 1880 and 1920 and discovers the ways in which ethnic and class relations profoundly altered its urban scene. Stunning in scope, this work makes a major contribution to our understanding of twentieth-century cities.
The 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, ignited nationwide protests and brought widespread attention police brutality and institutional racism. But Ferguson was no aberration. As Colin Gordon shows in this urgent and timely book, the events in Ferguson exposed not only the deep racism of the local police department but also the ways in which decades of public policy effectively segregated people and curtailed citizenship not just in Ferguson but across the St. Louis suburbs.
Citizen Brown uncovers half a century of private practices and public policies that resulted in bitter inequality and sustained segregation in Ferguson and beyond. Gordon shows how municipal and school district boundaries were pointedly drawn to contain or exclude African Americans and how local policies and services—especially policing, education, and urban renewal—were weaponized to maintain civic separation. He also makes it clear that the outcry that arose in Ferguson was no impulsive outburst but rather an explosion of pent-up rage against long-standing systems of segregation and inequality—of which a police force that viewed citizens not as subjects to serve and protect but as sources of revenue was only the most immediate example. Worse, Citizen Brown illustrates the fact that though the greater St. Louis area provides some extraordinarily clear examples of fraught racial dynamics, in this it is hardly alone among American cities and regions.
Interactive maps and other companion resources to Citizen Brown are available at the book website.
Winner of the 2018 Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Brazil Section Book Prize
In 1982, the Brazilian Air Force arrived on the Alcântara peninsula to build a state-of-the-art satellite launch facility. They displaced some 1,500 Afro-Brazilians from coastal land to inadequate inland villages, leaving many more threatened with displacement. Completed in 1990, this vast undertaking in one of Brazil’s poorest regions has provoked decades of conflict and controversy.
Constellations of Inequality tells this story of technological aspiration and the stark dynamics of inequality it laid bare. Sean T. Mitchell analyzes conflicts over land, ethnoracial identity, mobilization among descendants of escaped slaves, military-civilian competition in the launch program, and international intrigue. Throughout, he illuminates Brazil’s changing politics of inequality and examines how such inequality is made, reproduced, and challenged. How people conceptualize and act on the unequal conditions in which they find themselves, he shows, is as much a cultural and historical matter as a material one. Deftly broadening our understanding of race, technology, development, and political consciousness on local, national, and global levels, Constellations of Inequality paints a portrait of contemporary Brazil that will interest a broad spectrum of readers.
Young people are told that college is a place where they will “find themselves” by engaging with diversity and making friendships that will last a lifetime. This vision of an inclusive, diverse social experience is a fundamental part of the image colleges sell potential students. But what really happens when students arrive on campus and enter this new social world? The Cost of Inclusion delves into this rich moment to explore the ways students seek out a sense of belonging and the sacrifices they make to fit in.
Blake R. Silver spent a year immersed in student life at a large public university. He trained with the Cardio Club, hung out with the Learning Community, and hosted service events with the Volunteer Collective. Through these day-to-day interactions, he witnessed how students sought belonging and built their social worlds on campus. Over time, Silver realized that these students only achieved inclusion at significant cost. To fit in among new peers, they clung to or were pushed into raced and gendered cultural assumptions about behavior, becoming “the cool guy,” “the nice girl,” “the funny one,” “the leader,” “the intellectual,” or “the mom of the group.” Instead of developing dynamic identities, they crafted and adhered to a cookie-cutter self, one that was rigid and two-dimensional. Silver found that these students were ill-prepared for the challenges of a diverse college campus, and that they had little guidance from their university on how to navigate the trials of social engagement or the pressures to conform. While colleges are focused on increasing the diversity of their enrolled student body, Silver’s findings show that they need to take a hard look at how they are failing to support inclusion once students arrive on campus.
Flannery and Marcus demonstrate that the rise of inequality was not simply the result of population increase, food surplus, or the accumulation of valuables but resulted from conscious manipulation of the unique social logic that lies at the core of every human group. Reversing the social logic can reverse inequality, they argue, without violence.
How are boundaries created between groups in society? And what do these boundaries have to do with social inequality?
In this pioneering collection of original essays, a group of leading scholars helps set the agenda for the sociology of culture by exploring the factors that push us to segregate and integrate and the institutional arrangements that shape classification systems. Each examines the power of culture to shape our everyday lives as clearly as does economics, and studies the dimensions along which boundaries are frequently drawn.
The essays cover four topic areas: the institutionalization of cultural categories, from morality to popular culture; the exclusionary effects of high culture, from musical tastes to the role of art museums; the role of ethnicity and gender in shaping symbolic boundaries; and the role of democracy in creating inclusion and exclusion.
The contributors are Jeffrey Alexander, Nicola Beisel, Randall Collins, Diana Crane, Paul DiMaggio, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Joseph Gusfield, John R. Hall, David Halle, Richard A. Peterson, Albert Simkus, Alan Wolfe, and Vera Zolberg.
The gap between the richest and poorest Americans has grown steadily over the last thirty years, and economic inequality is on the rise in many other industrialized democracies as well. But the magnitude and pace of the increase differs dramatically across nations. A country's political system and its institutions play a critical role in determining levels of inequality in a society. Democracy, Inequality, and Representation argues that the reverse is also true—inequality itself shapes political systems and institutions in powerful and often overlooked ways. In Democracy, Inequality, and Representation, distinguished political scientists and economists use a set of international databases to examine the political causes and consequences of income inequality. The volume opens with an examination of how differing systems of political representation contribute to cross-national variations in levels of inequality. Torben Iverson and David Soskice calculate that taxes and income transfers help reduce the poverty rate in Sweden by over 80 percent, while the comparable figure for the United States is only 13 percent. Noting that traditional economic models fail to account for this striking discrepancy, the authors show how variations in electoral systems lead to very different outcomes. But political causes of disparity are only one part of the equation. The contributors also examine how inequality shapes the democratic process. Pablo Beramendi and Christopher Anderson show how disparity mutes political voices: at the individual level, citizens with the lowest incomes are the least likely to vote, while high levels of inequality in a society result in diminished electoral participation overall. Thomas Cusack, Iverson, and Philipp Rehm demonstrate that uncertainty in the economy changes voters' attitudes; the mere risk of losing one's job generates increased popular demand for income support policies almost as much as actual unemployment does. Ronald Rogowski and Duncan McRae illustrate how changes in levels of inequality can drive reforms in political institutions themselves. Increased demand for female labor participation during World War II led to greater equality between men and women, which in turn encouraged many European countries to extend voting rights to women for the first time. The contributors to this important new volume skillfully disentangle a series of complex relationships between economics and politics to show how inequality both shapes and is shaped by policy. Democracy, Inequality, and Representation provides deeply nuanced insight into why some democracies are able to curtail inequality—while others continue to witness a division that grows ever deeper.
In Divergent Paths to College, Megan M. Holland examines how high schools structure different pathways that lead students to very different college destinations based on race and class. She finds that racial and class inequalities are reproduced through unequal access to key sources of information, even among students in the same school and even in schools with well-established college-going cultures. As the college application process becomes increasingly complex and high-stakes, social capital, or relationships with people who can provide information as well as support and guidance, becomes much more critical. Although much has been written about the college-bound experience, we know less about the role that social capital plays, and specifically how high schools can serve as organizational brokers of social ties. The relationships that high schools cultivate between students and higher education institutions by inviting college admissions officers into their schools to market to students, is a particularly critical, yet unexplored source of college information.
An insightful map of the landscape of social meals, Eating Together: Food, Friendship, and Inequality argues that the ways in which Americans eat together play a central role in social life in the United States. Delving into a wide range of research, Alice P. Julier analyzes etiquette and entertaining books from the past century and conducts interviews and observations of dozens of hosts and guests at dinner parties, potlucks, and buffets. She finds that when people invite friends, neighbors, or family members to share meals within their households, social inequalities involving race, economics, and gender reveal themselves in interesting ways: relationships are defined, boundaries of intimacy or distance are set, and people find themselves either excluded or included.
Economic inequality is at a record high in the United States, but public demand for redistribution is not rising with it. Meghan Condon and Amber Wichowsky show that this paradox and other mysteries about class and US politics can be solved through a focus on social comparison. Powerful currents compete to propel attention up or down—toward the rich or the poor—pulling politics along in the wake.
Through an astute blend of experiments, surveys, and descriptions people offer in their own words, The Economic Other reveals that when less-advantaged Americans compare with the rich, they become more accurate about their own status and want more from government. But American society is structured to prevent upward comparison. In an increasingly divided, anxious nation, opportunities to interact with the country’s richest are shrinking, and people prefer to compare to those below to feel secure. Even when comparison with the rich does occur, many lose confidence in their power to effect change.
Laying bare how social comparisons drive political attitudes, The Economic Other is an essential look at the stubborn plight of inequality and the measures needed to solve it.
Succinct, accessible, and authoritative, Thomas Piketty’s The Economics of Inequality is the ideal place to start for those who want to understand the fundamental issues at the heart of one the most pressing concerns in contemporary economics and politics. This work now appears in English for the first time.
Challenging the dominant view of Hawai’i as a “melting pot paradise”—a place of ethnic tolerance and equality—Jonathan Okamura examines how ethnic inequality is structured and maintained in island society. He finds that ethnicity, not race or class, signifies difference for Hawaii’s people and therefore structures their social relations. In Hawai’i, residents attribute greater social significance to the presumed cultural differences between ethnicities than to more obvious physical differences, such as skin color.
According to Okamura, ethnicity regulates disparities in access to resources, rewards, and privileges among ethnic groups, as he demonstrates in his analysis of socioeconomic and educational inequalities in the state. He shows that socially and economically dominant ethnic groups—Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and Whites—have stigmatized and subjugated the islands’ other ethnic groups—especially Native Hawaiians, Filipino Americans, and Samoans. He demonstrates how ethnic stereotypes have been deployed against ethnic minorities and how these groups have contested their subordinate political and economic status by articulating new identities for themselves.
Globalization is not the primary cause of rising inequality. That is the conclusion of this penetrating study by Elhanan Helpman, a leading expert on international trade. If we wish to curb inequality while protecting what is best about globalization, he shows, we must start with a clear view of how globalization does, and does not, shape our world.
Acknowledged as one of the classics of twentieth-century Marxism, Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks contains a rich and nuanced theorization of class that provides insights that extend far beyond economic inequality. In Gramsci's Common Sense Kate Crehan offers new ways to understand the many forms that structural inequality can take, including in regards to race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. Presupposing no previous knowledge of Gramsci on the part of the reader, she introduces the Prison Notebooks and provides an overview of Gramsci’s notions of subalternity, intellectuals, and common sense, putting them in relation to the work of thinkers such as Bourdieu, Arendt, Spivak, and Said. In the case studies of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, Crehan theorizes the complex relationships between the experience of inequality, exploitation, and oppression, as well as the construction of political narratives. Gramsci's Common Sense is an accessible and concise introduction to a key Marxist thinker whose works illuminate the increasing inequality in the twenty-first century.
Palomitáy is an orphanage in highland Peru that provides a home for unmarried mothers as young as twelve years old. In their ordinary lives, these young women encounter diverse social expectations and face moral dilemmas. They endeavor to create a ‘good life’ for themselves and their children in a context complicated by competing demands, economic uncertainties, and structured relations of power. Drawing on a year of qualitative on-site research, Krista E. Van Vleet offers a rich ethnography of Palomitáy's young women. She pays particular attention to the moral entanglements that emerge via people's efforts to provide care amid the inequalities and insecurities of today's Peru. State and nonstate participants involved in the women's intimate lives influence how the women see themselves as mothers, students, and citizens. Both deserving of care and responsible for caring for others, the young women must navigate practices interwoven with a range of a racial, gendered, and class hierarchies. Groundbreaking and original, Hierarchies of Care highlights the moral engagement of young women seeking to understand themselves and their place in society in the presence of circumstances that are both precarious and full of hope.
In the twentieth century, the United States ended some of its most flagrant inequalities. The "rights revolution" ended statutory prohibitions against women's suffrage and opened the doors of voting booths to African Americans. Yet a more insidious form of inequality has emerged since the 1970s—economic inequality—which appears to have stalled and, in some arenas, reversed progress toward realizing American ideals of democracy. In Inequality and American Democracy, editors Lawrence Jacobs and Theda Skocpol headline a distinguished group of political scientists in assessing whether rising economic inequality now threatens hard-won victories in the long struggle to achieve political equality in the United States. Inequality and American Democracy addresses disparities at all levels of the political and policy-making process. Kay Lehman Scholzman, Benjamin Page, Sidney Verba, and Morris Fiorina demonstrate that political participation is highly unequal and strongly related to social class. They show that while economic inequality and the decreasing reliance on volunteers in political campaigns serve to diminish their voice, middle class and working Americans lag behind the rich even in protest activity, long considered the political weapon of the disadvantaged. Larry Bartels, Hugh Heclo, Rodney Hero, and Lawrence Jacobs marshal evidence that the U.S. political system may be disproportionately responsive to the opinions of wealthy constituents and business. They argue that the rapid growth of interest groups and the increasingly strict party-line voting in Congress imperils efforts at enacting policies that are responsive to the preferences of broad publics and to their interests in legislation that extends economic and social opportunity. Jacob Hacker, Suzanne Mettler, and Dianne Pinderhughes demonstrate the feedbacks of government policy on political participation and inequality. In short supply today are inclusive public policies like the G.I. Bill, Social Security legislation, the War on Poverty, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that changed the American political climate, mobilized interest groups, and altered the prospect for initiatives to stem inequality in the last fifty years. Inequality and American Democracy tackles the complex relationships between economic, social, and political inequality with authoritative insight, showcases a new generation of critical studies of American democracy, and highlights an issue of growing concern for the future of our democratic society.
Inequality in Early America
Carla Gardina Pestana Dartmouth College Press, 2015 Library of Congress E188.5.I54 1999 | Dewey Decimal 973.2
This book was designed as a collaborative effort to satisfy a long-felt need to pull together many important but separate inquiries into the nature and impact of inequality in colonial and revolutionary America. It also honors the scholarship of Gary Nash, who has contributed much of the leading work in this field. The 15 contributors, who constitute a Who's Who of those who have made important discoveries and reinterpretations of this issue, include Mary Beth Norton on women's legal inequality in early America; Neal Salisbury on Puritan missionaries and Native Americans; Laurel Thatcher Ulrich on elite and poor women's work in early Boston; Peter Wood and Philip Morgan on early American slavery; as well as Gary Nash himself writing on Indian/white history. This book is a vital contribution to American self-understanding and to historical analysis.
Inequality and poverty have returned with a vengeance in recent decades. To reduce them, we need fresh ideas that move beyond taxes on the wealthy. Anthony B. Atkinson offers ambitious new policies in technology, employment, social security, sharing of capital, and taxation, and he defends them against the common arguments and excuses for inaction.
Ever since Alfred Binet carried out a 1904 commission from France’s minister of public instruction to devise a means for deciding which pupils should be sent to what would now be called special education classes, IQ scores have been used to label and track children. Those same scores have been cited as "proof" that different races, classes, and genders are of superior and inferior intelligence.
The Menshes make clear that from the beginning IQ tests have been fundamentally biased. Offered as a means for seeking solutions to social problems, the actual measurements have been used to maintain the status quo. Often the most telling comments are from the test-makers themselves, whether Binet ("little girls weak in orthography are strong in sewing and capable in the instruction concerning housekeeping; and, all things considered, this is more important for their future") or Wigdor and Garner ("naive use of intelligence tests . . . to place children of linguistic or racial minority status in special education programs will not be defensible in court").
Among the disturbing facts that the authors share is that there is mounting political pressure for more tests and testing despite a court trial in which the judge stated that "defendants’ expert witnesses, even those clearly affiliated with the companies that devise and distribute the standardized intelligence tests, agreed, with one exception, that we cannot truly define, much less measure, intelligence." The testing firms have responded to this carefully orchestrated need with new products that extend even to the IQ testing of three-month-old infants. The authors stress that, if the testers prevail, there is little doubt that these and similar tests would be used "ad infinitum to justify superior and inferior education along class and racial lines."
This volume illuminates changes in Israeli society over the past generation. Goldscheider identifies three key social changes that have led to the transformation of Israeli society in the twenty-first century: the massive immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, the economic shift to a high-tech economy, and the growth of socioeconomic inequalities inside Israel. To deepen his analysis of these developments, Goldscheider focuses on ethnicity, religion, and gender, including the growth of ethnic pluralism in Israel, the strengthening of the Ultra-Orthodox community, the changing nature of religious Zionism and secularism, shifts in family patterns, and new issues and challenges between Palestinians and Arab Israelis given the stalemate in the peace process and the expansions of Jewish settlements. Combining demography and social structural analysis, the author draws on the most recent data available from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and other sources to offer scholars and students an innovative guide to thinking about the Israel of the future. This book will be of interest to scholars and students of contemporary Israel, the Middle East, sociology, demography and economic development, as well as policy specialists in these fields. It will serve as a textbook for courses in Israeli history and in the modern Middle East.
"What is most extraordinary about Ben Fleury-Steiner's book is that it seeks to shed light on the 'black box' of capital jury deliberations. Based on a remarkable social science survey of persons who served on capital juries, this volume illuminates the workings of the most closely guarded secret in the criminal justice system."
-David Cole, from the Foreword
"Perhaps the most powerful, routinely enacted civic ritual in American public life is that of capital punishment. This state-sanctioned extirpation of human life in the collective pursuit of justice is a searing act of civic pedagogy, made legitimate only by the deliberative endorsement of a small group of ordinary citizens-the jury. In Jurors' Stories of Death, Benjamin Fleury-Steiner has taken a cold, hard look at how these ordinary citizens come to terms with their extraordinary role, and how they rationalize their irreversible decisions. The result is a chilling portrait of how we---that is, all of us Americans---constitute ourselves as a political community."
-Glenn Loury, Director, Institute on Race and Social Division
"This illuminating and insightful examination of jury deliberations makes a terrific contribution to the study of capital punishment. Fleury-Steiner's synthesis of sociological, legal and theoretical concepts with vivid juror narratives and statistical data, thoughtfully animates and details how race and class consciousness continue to shape America's death penalty."
---Bryan Stevenson, Professor of Clinical Law, NYU School of Law, Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama
Jurors' Stories of Death is more than just another book on the death penalty; it is the first systematic survey of how death penalty decisions are made.
Benjamin Fleury-Steiner draws on real-life accounts of white and black jurors in capital punishment trials to discuss the effect of race on the sentencing process. He finds that race is invariably a factor in sentencing, with jurors relying on accounts that deny the often marginalized defendants their individuality and complexity, while reinforcing the jurors' own identities as superior, moral, and law-abiding citizens-a system that punishes in the name of dominance. This biased story of "us versus them" continues to infuse political rhetoric on crime and punishment in the United States even today.
Jurors' Stories of Death concludes with an original argument for abolition of the death penalty: If America values multiculturalism and cultural diversity, it must do away with institutions such as state-sanctioned capital punishment in order to begin to free itself from the racism and classicism that so insidiously plague social relations today.
Neil Kraus evaluates both the influence of public opinion on local policy-making and the extent to which public policy addresses economic and social inequalities. Drawing on several years of fieldwork and multiple sources of data, including surveys and polls; initiatives, referenda, and election results; government documents; focus groups; interviews; and a wide assortment of secondary sources, Kraus presents case studies of two Midwestern cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Gary, Indiana. Specifically, he focuses on several major policy decisions in recent decades concerning education, law enforcement, and affordable housing in Minneapolis; and education and riverboat casino development in Gary.
Kraus finds that, on these issues, local officials frequently take action that reflects public opinion, yet the resulting policies often fail to meet the needs of the disadvantaged or ameliorate the effects of concentrated poverty. In light of citizens’ current attitudes, he concludes that if patterns of inequality are to be more effectively addressed, scholars and policymakers must transform the debate about the causes and effects of inequality in urban and metropolitan settings.
Moral Politics in the Philippines offers an in-depth examination of the political participation and discourse of the urban poor in Manila. After the ousting of Ferdinando Marcos in 1986, society in the Philippines fractured along socioeconomic lines. The educated middle class began to recognize themselves as moral citizens and political participants while condemning the poor as immoral “masses” who earn money illegally and support corrupt leaders. Conversely, the poor believe themselves to be morally upright and criticize the rich as arrogant oppressors. Wataru Kusaka looks at the dangers of this moralization of politics during the last several decades, and he analyzes the damaging effects it has had on democracy by excluding much of society and marginalizing the interests of those most in need of resources.
Ruth Milkman's groundbreaking research in women's labor history has contributed important perspectives on work and unionism in the United States. On Gender, Labor, and Inequality presents four decades of Milkman's essential writings, tracing the parallel evolutions of her ideas and the field she helped define. Milkman's introduction frames a career-spanning scholarly project: her interrogation of historical and contemporary intersections of class and gender inequalities in the workplace, and the efforts to challenge those inequalities. Early chapters focus on her pioneering work on women's labor during the Great Depression and the World War II years. In the book's second half, Milkman turns to the past fifty years, a period that saw a dramatic decline in gender inequality even as growing class imbalances created greater-than-ever class disparity among women. She concludes with a previously unpublished essay comparing the impact of the Great Depression and the Great Recession on women workers.
The world of elite campuses is one of rarified social circles, as well as prestigious educational opportunities. W. Carson Byrd studied twenty-eight of the most selective colleges and universities in the United States to see whether elite students’ social interactions with each other might influence their racial beliefs in a positive way, since many of these graduates will eventually hold leadership positions in society. He found that students at these universities believed in the success of the ‘best and the brightest,’ leading them to situate differences in race and status around issues of merit and individual effort.
Poison in the Ivy challenges popular beliefs about the importance of cross-racial interactions as an antidote to racism in the increasingly diverse United States. He shows that it is the context and framing of such interactions on college campuses that plays an important role in shaping students’ beliefs about race and inequality in everyday life for the future political and professional leaders of the nation. Poison in the Ivy is an eye-opening look at race on elite college campuses, and offers lessons for anyone involved in modern American higher education.
Inequality is the defining issue of our time. But it is not just a problem for the rich world. It is the global 1% that now owns fully half the world’s wealth—the true measure of our age of inequality. In this historical tour de force, Simon Reid-Henry rewrites the usual story of globalization and development as a story of the management of inequality. Reaching back to the eighteenth century and around the globe, The Political Origins of Inequality foregrounds the political turning points and decisions behind the making of today’s uneven societies. As it weaves together insights from the Victorian city to the Cold War, from US economic policy to Europe’s present migration crisis, a true picture emerges of the structure of inequality itself.
The problem of inequality, Reid-Henry argues, is a problem that manifests between places as well as over time. This is one reason why it cannot be resolved by the usual arguments of left versus right, bound as they are to the national scale alone. Most of all, however, it is why the level of inequality that confronts us today is indicative of a more general crisis in political thought. Modern political discourse has no place for public reason or the common good. Equality is yesterday’s dream. Yet the fact that we now accept such a world—a world that values security over freedom, special treatment over universal opportunity, and efficiency over fairness—is ultimately because we have stopped even trying in recent decades to build the political architecture the world actually requires.
Our politics has fallen out of step with the world, then, and at the every moment it is needed more than ever. Yet it is within our power to address this. Doing so involves identifying and then meeting our political responsibilities to others, not just offering them the selective charity of the rich. It means looking beyond issues of economics and outside our national borders. But above all it demands of us that we reinvent the language of equality for a modern, global world: and then institute this. The world is not falling apart. Different worlds, we all can see, are colliding together. It is our capacity to act in concert that is falling apart. It is this that needs restoring most of all.
"Extremely coherent and useful, this much needed volume is concerned with the current status of the poor in Western industrial states. Its closely linked essays allow comparisons between case studies and are often themselves cross-national comparisons....The essays also comment on the meaning of globalization for social policy." —Choice "Excellent and tightly integrated articles by a group of prominent international scholars....A timely and important book, which will surely become the basic reference point for all future research on inequality and social policy." —Contemporary Sociology The social safety net is under strain in all Western nations, as social and economic change has created problems that traditional welfare systems were not designed to handle. Poverty, Inequality, and the Future of Social Policy provides a definitive analysis of the conditions that are fraying the social fabric and the reasons why some countries have been more successful than others in addressing these trends. In the United States, where the poverty rate in the 1980s was twice that of any advanced nation in Europe, the social protection system—and public support for it—has eroded alarmingly. In Europe, the welfare system more effectively buffered the disadvantaged, but social expenditures have been indicted by many as the principal cause of high unemployment. Concluding chapters review the progress and goals of social welfare programs, assess their viability in the face of creeping economic, racial, and social fragmentation, and define the challenges that face those concerned with social cohesion and economic prosperity in the new global economy. This volume illuminates the disparate effects of government intervention on the incidence and duration of poverty in Western countries. Poverty, Inequality, and the Future of Social Policy is full of lessons for anyone who would look beyond the limitations of the welfare debate in the United States.
This book cuts through the powerful mythology surrounding Los Angeles to reveal the causes of inequality in a city that has weathered rapid population change, economic restructuring, and fractious ethnic relations. The sources of disadvantage and the means of getting ahead differ greatly among the city's myriad ethnic groups. The demand for unskilled labor is stronger here than in other cities, allowing Los Angeles's large population of immigrant workers with little education to find work in light manufacturing and low-paid service jobs. A less beneficial result of this trend is the increased marginalization of the city's low-skilled black workers, who do not enjoy the extended ethnic networks of many of the new immigrant groups and who must contend with persistent negative racial stereotypes. Patterns of residential segregation are also more diffuse in Los Angeles, with many once-black neighborhoods now split evenly between blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and other minorities. Inequality in Los Angeles cannot be reduced to a simple black-white divide. Nonetheless, in this thoroughly multicultural city, race remains a crucial factor shaping economic fortunes. A Volume in the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality
For most people, grocery shopping is a mundane activity. Few stop to think about the massive, global infrastructure that makes it possible to buy Chilean grapes in a Philadelphia supermarket in the middle of winter. Yet every piece of food represents an interlocking system of agriculture, manufacturing, shipping, logistics, retailing, and nonprofits that controls what we eat—or don’t.
The Problem with Feeding Cities is a sociological and historical examination of how this remarkable network of abundance and convenience came into being over the last century. It looks at how the US food system transformed from feeding communities to feeding the entire nation, and it reveals how a process that was once about fulfilling basic needs became focused on satisfying profit margins. It is also a story of how this system fails to feed people, especially in the creation of food deserts. Andrew Deener shows that problems with food access are the result of infrastructural failings stemming from how markets and cities were developed, how distribution systems were built, and how organizations coordinate the quality and movement of food. He profiles hundreds of people connected through the food chain, from farmers, wholesalers, and supermarket executives, to global shippers, logistics experts, and cold-storage operators, to food bank employees and public health advocates. It is a book that will change the way we see our grocery store trips and will encourage us all to rethink the way we eat in this country.
Over the last thirty years, the prison population in the United States has increased more than seven-fold to over two million people, including vastly disproportionate numbers of minorities and people with little education. For some racial and educational groups, incarceration has become a depressingly regular experience, and prison culture and influence pervade their communities. Almost 60 percent of black male high school drop-outs in their early thirties have spent time in prison. In Punishment and Inequality in America, sociologist Bruce Western explores the recent era of mass incarceration and the serious social and economic consequences it has wrought. Punishment and Inequality in America dispels many of the myths about the relationships among crime, imprisonment, and inequality. While many people support the increase in incarceration because of recent reductions in crime, Western shows that the decrease in crime rates in the 1990s was mostly fueled by growth in city police forces and the pacification of the drug trade. Getting "tough on crime" with longer sentences only explains about 10 percent of the fall in crime, but has come at a significant cost. Punishment and Inequality in America reveals a strong relationship between incarceration and severely dampened economic prospects for former inmates. Western finds that because of their involvement in the penal system, young black men hardly benefited from the economic boom of the 1990s. Those who spent time in prison had much lower wages and employment rates than did similar men without criminal records. The losses from mass incarceration spread to the social sphere as well, leaving one out of ten young black children with a father behind bars by the end of the 1990s, thereby helping perpetuate the damaging cycle of broken families, poverty, and crime. The recent explosion of imprisonment is exacting heavy costs on American society and exacerbating inequality. Whereas college or the military were once the formative institutions in young men's lives, prison has increasingly usurped that role in many communities. Punishment and Inequality in America profiles how the growth in incarceration came about and the toll it is taking on the social and economic fabric of many American communities.
The relationship between government, virtue, and wealth has held a special fascination since Aristotle, and the importance of each frames policy debates today in both developed and developing countries. While it’s clear that low-quality government institutions have tremendous negative effects on the health and wealth of societies, the criteria for good governance remain far from clear.
In this pathbreaking book, leading political scientist Bo Rothstein provides a theoretical foundation for empirical analysis on the connection between the quality of government and important economic, political, and social outcomes. Focusing on the effects of government policies, he argues that unpredictable actions constitute a severe impediment to economic growth and development—and that a basic characteristic of quality government is impartiality in the exercise of power. This is borne out by cross-sectional analyses, experimental studies, and in-depth historical investigations. Timely and topical, The Quality of Government tackles such issues as political legitimacy, social capital, and corruption.
Over the past three decades, the contours of American social, economic, and political life have changed dramatically. The post-war patterns of broadly distributed economic growth have given way to stark inequalities of income and wealth, the GOP and its allies have gained power and shifted U.S. politics rightward, and the role of government in the lives of Americans has changed fundamentally. Remaking America explores how these trends are related, investigating the complex interactions of economics, politics, and public policy. Remaking America explains how the broad restructuring of government policy has both reflected and propelled major shifts in the character of inequality and democracy in the United States. The contributors explore how recent political and policy changes affect not just the social standing of Americans but also the character of democratic citizenship in the United States today. Lawrence Jacobs shows how partisan politics, public opinion, and interest groups have shaped the evolution of Medicare, but also how Medicare itself restructured health politics in America. Kimberly Morgan explains how highly visible tax policies created an opportunity for conservatives to lead a grassroots tax revolt that ultimately eroded of the revenues needed for social-welfare programs. Deborah Stone explores how new policies have redefined participation in the labor force—as opposed to fulfilling family or civic obligations—as the central criterion of citizenship. Frances Fox Piven explains how low-income women remain creative and vital political actors in an era in which welfare programs increasingly subject them to stringent behavioral requirements and monitoring. Joshua Guetzkow and Bruce Western document the rise of mass incarceration in America and illuminate its unhealthy effects on state social-policy efforts and the civic status of African-American men. For many disadvantaged Americans who used to look to government as a source of opportunity and security, the state has become increasingly paternalistic and punitive. Far from standing alone, their experience reflects a broader set of political victories and policy revolutions that have fundamentally altered American democracy and society. Empirically grounded and theoretically informed, Remaking America connects the dots to provide insight into the remarkable social and political changes of the last three decades.
Restructuring the Philadelphia Region offers one of the most comprehensive and careful investigations written to date about metropolitan inequalities in America’s large urban regions. Moving beyond simplistic analyses of cities-versus-suburbs, the authors use a large and unique data set to discover the special patterns of opportunity in greater Philadelphia, a sprawling, complex metropolitan region consisting of more than 350 separate localities. With each community operating its own public services and competing to attract residents and businesses, the places people live offer them dramatically different opportunities.
The book vividly portrays the region’s uneven development—paying particular attention to differences in housing, employment and educational opportunities in different communities—and describes the actors who are working to promote greater regional cooperation. Surprisingly, local government officials are not prominent among those actors. Instead, a rich network of “third-sector” actors, represented by nonprofit organizations, quasi-governmental authorities and voluntary associations, is shaping a new form of regionalism.
Policymakers and the public are increasingly aware of the dire consequences of mass incarceration for millions of individuals and families. However, incarceration is only one component of the larger criminal justice system. Many more individuals have contact with the criminal justice system through arrests, misdemeanor convictions, and the accumulation of fines and fees, without spending time behind bars. In this issue of RSF, editors sociologist Kristin Turney and criminologist Sara Wakefield and a multi-disciplinary group of authors analyze how the range of criminal justice contact create, maintain, and exacerbate inequalities. Contributors show that the vast scope of the criminal justice system disproportionately targets low-income and minority populations, with serious consequences across the life course.
Several articles explore the ramifications of ongoing surveillance. Amanda Geller and Jeffrey Fagan survey adolescents who come into contact with law enforcement and find that intrusive police stops contribute to heightened cynicism toward the legal system, suggesting that aggressive policing weakens youths’ deference to law and legal authorities. Robert Vargas and coauthors study police-dispatcher radio communications and show that data breaches where the dispatcher reveals confidential identifying information about individuals reporting criminal activity are more common in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods. Because police scanners are accessible by the public, these breaches make residents more vulnerable to criminals, gangs, or predatory businesses. Other contributors explore the effects of criminal justice contact on family life. Frank Edwards examines how families’ interactions with the child welfare system differ by race and shows that black and Native American families living in counties with high arrest rates are more likely to be investigated for child abuse and neglect than similar families in counties with low arrest rates. For whites, by contrast, poverty—rather than arrests—is the strongest predictor for contact with the child welfare system. In an ethnographic study of bail bond agents, Joshua Page and coauthors find that this industry uses predatory methods to extract bail from the female relatives and partners of incarcerated individuals, increasing financial hardship particularly among low-income women of color.
The criminal justice system is an institution of social stratification in the United States. By documenting how regimes of punishment and surveillance extend far beyond prison, this issue advances our understanding of how social inequalities are perpetuated by a supposedly impartial system.
“Economic and political forces no longer combat poverty—they generate poverty!" exclaim William Goldsmith and Edward Blakely in their report on the plight of American's urban poor. In this revised and updated edition of their 1992 book Separate Societies,the authors present a compelling examination of the damaging divisions that isolate poor city minority residents from the middle-class suburban majority. They pay special attention to how the needs of the permanently poor have been unmet through the alternating years of promises and neglect, and propose a progressive turn away from 30 years of conservative policies.
Separate Societies vividly documents how the urban working class has been pushed out of industrial jobs through global economic restructuring, and how the Wall Street meltdown has aggravated underemployment, depleted public services, and sharpened racial and class inequalities.
The authors insist that the current U.S. approach puts Americans out of work and lowers the standard of living for all. As such, Goldsmith and Blakely urge the Obama administration to create better urban policy and foster better metropolitan management to effectively and efficiently promote equality.
While journalists document the decline of small-town America and scholars describe the ascent of such global cities as New York and Los Angeles, the fates of little cities remain a mystery. What about places like Providence, Rhode Island; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Laredo, Texas; and Salinas, California—the smaller cities that constitute much of America’s urban landscape? In Small Cities USA, Jon R. Norman examines how such places have fared in the wake of the large-scale economic, demographic, and social changes that occurred in the latter part of the twentieth century.
Drawing on an assessment of eighty small cities between 1970 and 2000, Norman considers the factors that have altered the physical, social, and economic landscapes of such places. These cities are examined in relation to new patterns of immigration, shifts in the global economy, and changing residential preferences. Small Cities USA presents the first large-scale comparison of smaller cities over time in the United States, showing that small cities that have prospered over time have done so because of diverse populations and economies. These "glocal" cities, as Norman calls them, are doing well without necessarily growing into large metropolises.
A comprehensive and sophisticated study of the relationship between social security policy and inequality in Latin America. Individual case studies of Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, and Mexico are presented, that provide a historical analysis of each country's social security policy, the pressure groups involved, the present structure of the systems, and a statistical examination of the inequality among these pressure groups.
Addressing the disparity in test scores between black and white children remains one of the greatest social challenges of our time. Between the 1960s and 1980s, tremendous strides were made in closing the achievement gap, but that remarkable progress halted abruptly in the mid 1980s, and stagnated throughout the 1990s. How can we understand these shifting trends and their relation to escalating economic inequality? In Steady Gains and Stalled Progress, interdisciplinary experts present a groundbreaking analysis of the multifaceted reasons behind the test score gap—and the policies that hold the greatest promise for renewed progress in the future. Steady Gains and Stalled Progress shows that while income inequality does not directly lead to racial differences in test scores, it creates and exacerbates disparities in schools, families, and communities—which do affect test scores. Jens Ludwig and Jacob Vigdor demonstrate that the period of greatest progress in closing the gap coincided with the historic push for school desegregation in the 1960s and 1970s. Stagnation came after efforts to integrate schools slowed down. Today, the test score gap is nearly 50 percent larger in states with the highest levels of school segregation. Katherine Magnuson, Dan Rosenbaum, and Jane Waldfogel show how parents' level of education affects children's academic performance: as educational attainment for black parents increased in the 1970s and 1980s, the gap in children's test scores narrowed. Sean Corcoran and William Evans present evidence that teachers of black students have less experience and are less satisfied in their careers than teachers of white students. David Grissmer and Elizabeth Eiseman find that the effects of economic deprivation on cognitive and emotional development in early childhood lead to a racial divide in school readiness on the very first day of kindergarten. Looking ahead, Helen Ladd stresses that the task of narrowing the divide is not one that can or should be left to schools alone. Progress will resume only when policymakers address the larger social and economic forces behind the problem. Ronald Ferguson masterfully interweaves the volume's chief findings to highlight the fact that the achievement gap is the cumulative effect of many different processes operating in different contexts. The gap in black and white test scores is one of the most salient features of racial inequality today. Steady Gains and Stalled Progress provides the detailed information and powerful insight we need to understand a complicated past and design a better future.
The twenty-first century has seen the emergence of a new style of man: the metrosexual. Overwhelmingly straight, white, and wealthy, these impeccably coiffed urban professionals spend big money on everything from facials to pedicures, all part of a multi-billion-dollar male grooming industry. Yet as this innovative study reveals, even as the industry encourages men to invest more in their appearance, it still relies on women to do much of the work.
Styling Masculinity investigates how men’s beauty salons have persuaded their clientele to regard them as masculine spaces. To answer this question, sociologist Kristen Barber goes inside Adonis and The Executive, two upscale men’s salons in Southern California. Conducting detailed observations and extensive interviews with both customers and employees, she shows how female salon workers not only perform the physical labor of snipping, tweezing, waxing, and exfoliating, but also perform the emotional labor of pampering their clients and pumping up their masculine egos.
Letting salon employees tell their own stories, Barber not only documents occasions when these workers are objectified and demeaned, but also explores how their jobs allow for creativity and confer a degree of professional dignity. In the process, she traces the vast network of economic and social relations that undergird the burgeoning male beauty industry.
For the past five years, American public schools have enrolled more students identified as Black, Latinx, American Indian, and Asian than white. At the same time, more than half of US school children now qualify for federally subsidized meals, a marker of poverty. The makeup of schools is rapidly changing, and many districts and school boards are at a loss as to how they can effectively and equitably handle these shifts. Suddenly Diverse is an ethnographic account of two school districts in the Midwest responding to rapidly changing demographics at their schools. It is based on observations and in-depth interviews with school board members and superintendents, as well as staff, community members, and other stakeholders in each district: one serving “Lakeside,” a predominately working class, conservative community and the other serving “Fairview,” a more affluent, liberal community. Erica O. Turner looks at district leaders’ adoption of business-inspired policy tools and the ultimate successes and failures of such responses. Turner’s findings demonstrate that, despite their intentions to promote “diversity” or eliminate “achievement gaps,” district leaders adopted policies and practices that ultimately perpetuated existing inequalities and advanced new forms of racism.
While suggesting some ways forward, Suddenly Diverse shows that, without changes to these managerial policies and practices and larger transformations to the whole system, even district leaders’ best efforts will continue to undermine the promise of educational equity and the realization of more robust public schools.
Is wealth inequality a universal feature of human societies, or did early peoples live an egalitarian existence? How did inequality develop before the modern era? Did inequalities in wealth increase as people settled into a way of life dominated by farming and herding? Why in general do such disparities increase, and how recent are the high levels of wealth inequality now experienced in many developed nations? How can archaeologists tell?
Ten Thousand Years of Inequality addresses these and other questions by presenting the first set of consistent quantitative measurements of ancient wealth inequality. The authors are archaeologists who have adapted the Gini index, a statistical measure of wealth distribution often used by economists to measure contemporary inequality, and applied it to house-size distributions over time and around the world. Clear descriptions of methods and assumptions serve as a model for other archaeologists and historians who want to document past patterns of wealth disparity.
The chapters cover a variety of ancient cases, including early hunter-gatherers, farmer villages, and agrarian states and empires. The final chapter synthesizes and compares the results. Among the new and notable outcomes, the authors report a systematic difference between higher levels of inequality in ancient Old World societies and lower levels in their New World counterparts.
For the first time, archaeology allows humanity’s deep past to provide an account of the early manifestations of wealth inequality around the world.
Meredith S. Chesson
Timothy J. Dennehy
Robert D. Drennan
Laura J. Ellyson
Ronald K. Faulseit
Gary M. Feinman
Thomas A. Foor
Vishwas D. Gogte
Timothy A. Kohler
Chapurukha M. Kusimba
Linda M. Nicholas
Rahul C. Oka
Christian E. Peterson
Anna Marie Prentiss
Michael E. Smith
Elizabeth C. Stone
A landmark in contemporary social science, this pioneering work by Thomas Piketty explains the facts and dynamics of income inequality in France in the twentieth century. On its publication in French in 2001, it helped launch the international program led by Piketty and others to explore the grand patterns and causes of global inequality—research that has since transformed public debate. Appearing here in English for the first time, this stunning achievement will take its place alongside Capital in the Twenty-First Century as a modern classic of economic analysis.
Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is essential in part because of Piketty’s unprecedented efforts to uncover, untangle, and present in clear form data about patterns in tax and inheritance in France dating back to 1900. But it is also an exceptional work of analysis, tracking and explaining with Piketty’s characteristically lucid prose the effects of political conflict, war, and social change on the economic pressures and public policies that determined the lives of millions. A work of unusual intellectual power and ambition, Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is a vital resource for anyone concerned with the economic, political, and social history of France, and it is central to ongoing debates about social justice, inequality, taxation, and the evolution of capitalism around the world.
In an adult-dominated society, teenagers are often shut out of participation in politics. We Fight to Win offers a compelling account of young people's attempts to get involved in community politics, and documents the battles waged to form youth movements and create social change in schools and neighborhoods.
Hava Rachel Gordon compares the struggles and successes of two very different youth movements: a mostly white, middle-class youth activist network in Portland, Oregon, and a working-class network of minority youth in Oakland, California. She examines how these young activists navigate schools, families, community organizations, and the mainstream media, and employ a variety of strategies to make their voices heard on some of today's most pressing issuesùwar, school funding, the environmental crisis, the prison industrial complex, standardized testing, corporate accountability, and educational reform. We Fight to Win is one of the first books to focus on adolescence and political action and deftly explore the ways that the politics of youth activism are structured by age inequality as well as race, class, and gender.
It is often said that the federal government cannot or should not attempt to address America's problems of poverty and inequality—because its bureaucracy is wasteful or its programs ineffective. But is this true? In this book, Benjamin I. Page and James R. Simmons examine a number of federal and local programs, detailing what government action already does for its citizens and assessing how efficient it is at solving the problems it seeks to address. Their conclusion, surprisingly, is the polar opposite of the prevailing rhetoric—What Government Can Do is an insightful and compelling argument that it both can and should do more.