Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 1999

Inequality in a Comparative Perspective

Main Discipline: Sociology
Lecturer: Professor Charles Tilly
Institution: Columbia University, USA
Dates: August 2nd - 6th 1999

Since World War II, studies of inequality have suffered from two simplifications that once served them well but now inhibit further advance. The first is radical individualism, the second stress on the amount, rather than the structure, of inequality. The course investigates theoretical and empirical opportunities opening up once we base the analysis of inequality on culturally-framed social interaction and its compounding into durable social structure. Considering a wide range of historical and contemporary settings, it inquires into explanations of the dynamics of unequal social relations. Assigned readings to be discussed in course sessions include a few general statements on inequality, surveys of recent empirical studies, and a synthetic book by the instructor. Recommended readings cover a wide range of recent theoretical and empirical work on inequality.

Basic Readings

The lecturer
Charles Tilly is Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, Columbia University, USA. His work focuses on large scale social change and its relationship to popular collective action, especially in western Europe since 1500. He has published numerous scholarly books, articles, and papers. Among his more recent books are Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons (New York 1985), The Contentious French (Cambridge, Mass. 1986), Coercion, Capital and European States, AD 990-1990 (Oxford 1990), European revolutions, 1492-1992 (Oxford 1993), Popular contention in Great Britain, 1758-1834 (Cambridge, Mass. 1995), (editor), Citizenship, identity and social history, (Cambridge 1996), Roads from past to future (Lanham, Md. 1997), (with Chris Tilly), Work under capitalism (Boulder, Colo. 1998).