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The Re­turn of In­equal­ity

Guest talk by Pro­fessor Mike Sav­age, 27.9.2021


Monday, 27 September 2021
At 14:00 (UTC+3h, Finnish local time)
Online via Zoom

Mike Savage is Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and the former director of the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute. Savage's role at LSE builds on his long standing interests in analysing social stratification and inequality. Savage has played a major role in the revival of the sociology of social class in recent decades so that it has become once more a central plank of the discipline. His approach has four distinctive elements: a deep concern to recognise the intersectional and cultural dimensions of social inequalities; insistence on understanding inequality spatially; commitment to a strongly historical approach to analysis; and seeing rigorous research methods as fundamental to sociological inquiry. Savage brings these interests together to renew interests in class analysis so that they are better attuned to contemporary urgencies, especially associated with the burgeoning fortunes of the super-rich.

Abstract: The economic facts of inequality are clear. The rich have been pulling away from the rest of us for years, and the super-rich have been pulling away from the rich. More and more assets are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Mainstream economists say we need not worry; what matters is growth, not distribution. In The Return of Inequality: Social Change and the Weight of the Past (2021), Mike Savage pushes back, explaining inequality’s profound deleterious effects on the shape of societies.

Savage shows how economic inequality aggravates cultural, social, and political conflicts, challenging the coherence of liberal democratic nation-states. Put simply, severe inequality returns us to the past. By fracturing social bonds and harnessing the democratic process to the strategies of a resurgent aristocracy of the wealthy, inequality revives political conditions we thought we had moved beyond: empires and dynastic elites, explosive ethnic division, and metropolitan dominance that consigns all but a few cities to irrelevance. Inequality, in short, threatens to return us to the very history we have been trying to escape since the Age of Revolution.

Zoom link will be sent ONLY to registered participants.

For more information, please visit the event website.

The guest talk is part of INEQ's Inequality Talks, an ongoing series of online lectures addressing a wide range of issues related to inequality.

Organized by INEQ – Helsinki Inequality Initiative and BIBU – Tackling Biases and Bubbles in Participation.