The Working Class and Social Inequality in the 21st Century: Marianne Nordli Hansen & Mike Savage
Unpacking the Modern Working Class & the Classes and Elites Research Seminar present two seminars on the Working Class and Social Inequality in the 21st Century. In this first webinar, Marianne Nordli Hansen (University of Oslo) will give an introduction and present insights from studying the Norwegian working class. Mike Savage (London School of Economics) will be discussing themes from his recently published book The Return of Inequality.
The event will be on Zoom. Use this link.
Marianne Nordli Hansen: “Introduction and insights from studying the Norwegian working class”
In a recent project on the Norwegian working class, we stated five main objectives.
First of all, to gather new knowledge about the working class, while paying special attention to ethnic composition, internal social relations, external relations (to the broader society, central institutions and the government). Secondly, to achieve up to date information on class formation and social mobility (into and out of the working class). Thirdly, to explore political attitudes on migration and the welfare state, and levels of social trust and political participation among workers. Fourth, study how the working class, represented by specific occupations, is portrayed and represented in mass media. And finally, provide new knowledge about contemporary cultures of esteem and recognition through conducting ethnographic fieldwork. In this talk I will do a quick summary on the main conclusions of these objectives.
Mike Savage: "The return of inequality: social change and the weight of history."
Mike Savage will be discussing themes from his recently published book The Return of Inequality.
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, 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.
Westerners have been slow to appreciate that inequality undermines the very foundations of liberal democracy: faith in progress and trust in the political community’s concern for all its members. Savage guides us through the ideas of leading theorists of inequality, including Marx, Bourdieu, and Piketty, revealing how inequality reimposes the burdens of the past. At once analytically rigorous and passionately argued, The Return of Inequality is a vital addition to one of our most important public debates.