This is the website for the Working Group on Political Inequality, organized under the Committee on Political Sociology, consisting of the International Sociological Association Research Committee on Political Sociology (RC 18) and the International Political Science Association Research Committee on Political Sociology (RC 6), and affiliated with Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program (CONSIRT). In this website you will find what the Working Group is about, its activities, and the people involved.
You will also find research notes: short statements on concepts, theories and empirics of political inequality; and teaching materials for use in the classroom.
I am organizing two sessions at the upcoming International Sociological Association Second Forum of Sociology in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 1 – 4, 2012.
If you are interested, please submit an abstract on-line in the ISA website between August 25 and December 15, 2011. You can also email Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is what ISA says about grants.
For more information, please see ISA 2012 Political Inequality Sessions on this website.
Members of the Working Group on Political inequality have guest edited a special issue of the International Journal of Sociology, “Political Inequality in Latin America.” The issue is now available on-line. For the table of contents and abstracts, please click here.
For recent data on voice inequality with respect to non-electoral political participation, see The Internet and Civic Engagement Sep 1, 2009 by Aaron Smith, Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba, Henry Brady, a Pew research study.
Dubrow, Joshua Kjerulf. 2010. “Cross-National Measures of Political Inequality of Voice.” ASK: Research and Methods 19: 93-110.
Social scientists have long argued that political power is a key dimension of stratification, yet few empirically analyze political inequality or explicitly discuss the methodological implications of their measures of it. Political inequality is a distinct dimension of social stratification and a form of power inequality whose domain is all things related to political processes. It is a multidimensional concept – comprised of voice, response, and policy – that occurs in all types of governance structures. Conceptions of political inequality of voice reflect the well-established finding that position within the social and political structure impacts individual and group political influence. I argue that definitions and measures of political inequality of voice should focus on the extent of influence given its connection, but not reduction, to economic resources. This article proposes and evaluates cross-national structural measures of political inequality of voice based on the relationship between socioeconomic status and political participation. I explore the relationships between the measures and the rankings of European countries using data from the European Social Survey 2008 and the Economist Intelligence Unit Index of Democracy 2008’s “political participation” category.
Not yet and not in America, according to a recent article in Perspectives on Politics:
Perspectives on Politics, Volume 8, issue 2 (June 2010), p. 487-509
Weapon of the Strong? Participatory Inequality and the Internet
Schlozman, Kay Lehman; Verba, Sidney; Brady, Henry E
What is the impact of the possibility of political participation on the Internet on long-standing patterns of participatory inequality in American politics? An August 2008 representative survey of Americans conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project provides little evidence that there has been any change in the extent to which political participation is stratified by socio-economic status, but it suggests that the web has ameliorated the well-known participatory deficit among those who have just joined the electorate. Even when only that subset of the population with Internet access is considered, participatory acts such as contributing to candidates, contacting officials, signing a political petition, or communicating with political groups are as stratified socio-economically when done on the web as when done offline. The story is different for stratification by age where historically younger people have been less engaged than older people in most forms of political participation. Young adults are much more likely than their elders to be comfortable with electronic technologies and to use the Internet, but among Internet users, the young are not especially politically active. How these trends play out in the future depends on what happens to the current Web-savvy younger generation and the cohorts that follow and on the rapidly developing political capacities of the Web. Stay logged on …
Social scientists have long argued that political power is a key dimension of stratification (Weber 1946; Lenski 1966; Dahl 2006), yet few empirically analyze political inequality (Winters and Page 2009). Although attention to global inequality has increased in the social stratification literature, most examine income (Firebaugh 1999; Milanovic 2002; Neckerman and Torche 2007), some examine health (Goselin and Firebaugh 2004), and almost none examine political influence (Anderson and Beramendi 2008). Most discussions of political inequality consist of philosophical debates over whether political equality is possible, or even necessary (Verba 2006; Bohman 1999; Dahl 2006; Ware 1981). The few empirical discussions neither explicitly discuss the methodological implications of their measures of political inequality nor discuss how they can be applied cross-nationally (Winters and Page 2009; Anderson and Beramendi 2008). This is a huge gap in our knowledge of how modern societies work.
This brief statement has three parts. First, I present many definitions of political inequality, and argue each implies a distinct empirical measure. Second, I suggest some empirical measures of political inequality. Third, I offer a sketch of the field of political inequality.