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Globalization and Inequalities

Globalization and Inequalities
Complexity and Contested Modernities

July 2009 | 520 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
How has globalization changed social inequality? Why do Americans die younger than Europeans, despite larger incomes? Is there an alternative to neoliberalism? Who are the champions of social democracy? Why are some countries more violent than others?

In this groundbreaking book, Sylvia Walby examines the many changing forms of social inequality and their intersectionalities at both country and global levels. She shows how the contest between different modernities and conceptions of progress shape the present and future.

The book re-thinks the nature of economy, polity, civil society and violence. It places globalization and inequalities at the centre of an innovative new understanding of modernity and progress and demonstrates the power of these theoretical reformulations in practice, drawing on global data and in-depth analysis of the US and EU.

Walby analyses the tensions between the different forces that are shaping global futures. She examines the regulation and deregulation of employment and welfare; domestic and public gender regimes; secular and religious polities; path dependent trajectories and global political waves; and global inequalities and human rights.
1. Introduction: Progress and modernities
What is Progress?
More money or longer life?

Progress as a contested project

Economic development


Human Rights

Human development, well-being and capabilities

Competing projects: neoliberalism and social democracy

Contesting conceptions of progress

Multiple Complex Inequalities
Multiple and intersecting inequalities

Complex inequalities: difference, inequality and progress

Modernity? Postmodernity? Not yet Modern? Varieties of Modernity?
Modernity or postmodernity?

Late, second or liquid modernity?

Multiple modernities?

Not yet modern?

Varieties of modernity

Defining modernity

Globalization as the erosion of distinctive and separate societies

Resistant to globalization

Already global

Coevolution of global processes with trajectories of development

Implications of globalization for social theory

Complexity Theory
2. Theorising multiple social systems
Multiple Inequalities and Intersectionality
Regimes and Domains
System and Its Environment: Over-Lapping, Non-Saturating, Non-Nested Systems
Societalisation not Societies
Emergence and Projects
Bodies, Technologies and the Social
Path Dependency
Co-evolution of Complex Adaptive Systems in Changing Fitness Landscapes
3. Economies
Redefining the Economy
Domestic Labour as Labour
State Welfare as part of the Economy
What are Economic Inequalities? What is Progress in the Economy?
From Pre-Modern to Modern: The Second Great Transformation
Global Processes and Economic Inequalities
What global processes?

Country Processes

Varieties of Political Economy
Varieties of employment relations

Varieties of Welfare Provision

Critical turning points into varieties of political economy

4. Polities
Reconceptualising Types of Polities



Organised religions



Global political institutions

Polities Overlap and do not Politically Saturate a Territory
Democracy and modernity

Redefining democracy

The development of democracy

5. Violence
Developing the Ontology of Violence
Modernity and Violence
Path Dependency in Trajections of Violence
6. Civil societies
Theorising Civil Society
Modernity and Civil Society
Civil Society Projects
Global Civil Societies and Waves
Examples of waves

7. Regimes of complex inequality
Beyond Class Regimes
Gender Regimes
Ethnic Regimes
Further Regimes of Complex Inequalities

Sexual orientation

Intersecting Regimes of Complex Inequality
8. Varieties of modernity
Neoliberal and Social Democratic Varieties of Modernity
Path Dependency at the Economy/Polity Nexus?
Welfare provision

Conclusions on welfare

Employment regulation


Conclusions on political economy

Path Dependency at the Violence Nexus
Modernity and path dependency


Development, inequality and violence

Gendered violence

Path dependency of the violence nexus in OECD countries

Violence, economic inequality and the polity/economy nexus

Conclusions on violence

Gender Regime
Public and domestic gender regimes

Development and the public gender regime

Domestic and public gender regimes and gender inequality

Varieties of public gender regimes

Democracy and Inequality
9. Measuring progress
Economic Development
Economic inequality

Global economic inequality

Beyond the household

Economic inequalities and flows

Economic inequalities in summary

Inequalities in non-economic domains


Human Rights
Human Development, Well-Being and Capabilities
Key Indicator Sets: What Indicators; What Underlying Concepts of Progress?
Extending the Frameworks and Indicators of Progress: Where do Environmental
Sustainability and Violence Fit?
Environmental sustainability


Achievement of Visions of Progress: Comparing Neoliberalism and Social Democracy
Economic development: neoliberalism vs. social democracy

Equality: neoliberalism vs. social democracy

Human rights: neoliberalism vs. social democracy

Human development, well-being and capabilities: neoliberalism vs. social democracy

Trade offs or complementary?

10. Comparative paths through modernity: neoliberalism and social democracy
Political Economy
Gender Transformations: The Emergence of Employed Women as the New Champions of Social Democracy
Employed women as the new champions of social democracy

Dampeners and Catalysts of Economic Growth: War and Gender Regime

11. Contested futures
Financial and Economic Crisis 2007-9
Contesting Hegemons and the Future of the World
12. Conclusions
The Challenge of Complex Inequalities and Globalization to Social Theory

Useful text. I have asked our library at the university of cape town to purchase copies.

Dr Jacques De Wet
Sociology, University of Cape Town
March 29, 2011

The book is highly valuable for the course

Professor Lyn Tett
Higher and Community Education, Edinburgh University
October 21, 2009

Sample Materials & Chapters


For instructors

Please contact your Academic Consultant to check inspection copy availability for your course.

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