ISA 2012 Political Inequality Sessions

I am organizing four sessions at the upcoming International Sociological Association Second Forum of Sociology in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 1 – 4, 2012.

The on-line Preliminary Program is here.

RC09 Business Meeting: Thursday, August 2, 2012, 16:15 – 17:45
RC18 Business Meeting, Saturday, August 4, 2012, 16:15 – 17:45

Joint Session of RC09 & RC18

Political Inequality Outside of the West

There are two sessions of the Joint session of RC09 Social Transformations and Sociology of Development and RC18 Political Sociology [host committee].

Part I: Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 10:45 – 12:15

Part II: Saturday, August 4, 2012, 12:30 – 14:00

Joshua Kjerulf DUBROW, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland,, RC09, RC18


Political inequality (POLINQ) can be defined as structured differences in influence over government decisions. POLINQ is a multidimensional concept – comprised of voice and response – that occurs in all types of governance structures, from social movement organizations, to local and national governments, on to global governance. Voice refers to how constituencies express their interests to decision-makers, either directly or through representatives. Response refers to how decision-makers act and react to their constituencies, and take the forms of symbols and policy.

While the established literature on other major types of inequality, such as economic and educational inequalities, addresses basic empirical questions of “what are the causes and consequences of this inequality?” and “how does this inequality impact social transformation?”, empirical studies of POLINQ, especially outside of Western countries, are few. As a result, our knowledge of the relationships between political power, political inequality and social and political transformations experienced outside of the West is lacking. Recent events in the Middle East amplify the importance, and urgency, of these issues.

This session seeks empirical (qualitative and quantitative) papers on the topic of POLINQ that feature (a) processes of social and political transformation in (b) countries outside of the West. Comparative studies are strongly encouraged.

Key research questions include:

  1. How do we define and measure political inequality?
  2. How does political inequality differ from democracy and the quality of democracy?
  3. How does political inequality interact with economic, gender, racial, ethnic, educational, and other inequalities?
  4. What are the relationships between political power, political inequality, and social transformations?
  5. How politically unequal are nations outside of the West?
  6. How does social and political change impact political inequality?
  7. What are the consequences of political inequality on peoples, societies and social structures?

Age of democracy, age of inequality: Global perspectives on the relationship between democracy and inequality

Hosted by RC18, there are two sessions:

Part I: Friday, August 3, 2012, 09:00 – 10:30

Part II: Friday, August 3, 2012, 10:45 – 12:15

Joshua Kjerulf DUBROW, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland,

Over the last few decades, the world has witnessed extensive regional political transformation of authoritarian regimes to democratic rule, and the maturation of established democracies. Concurrent with this new age of democracy is the age of inequality: within all countries, inequalities of various types – economic, political, social, and cultural – are petrified or tend to increase. This session wishes to provide a forum where scholars engage the main questions of, “How do inequalities impact democracy?” and “How does democracy impact inequalities?”

We draw inspiration from the American Political Science Association Task Force report (2004) on “American Democracy in an Age of Rising Inequality.” While a landmark project, the APSA Task Force is limited to the U.S. and did not integrate several critical issues in needed detail, such as digital divide and internet democracy, globalization, mass media impact, militarization and armed conflict, immigration, and intersectional approaches to understanding how democracy and inequality co-exist. In addition, gender, ethnicity and class were underemphasized; across nations, women’s representation in parliament, ethnic political parties, and the salience of class in political participation are key features of the nexus of democracy and inequality.

This session seeks empirical (quantitative and qualitative) papers that examine the relationship between democracy and inequality in places outside of the United States. Comparative studies are strongly encouraged.

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