Globalization and Inequalities

Globalization and Inequalities
Complexity and Contested Modernities

© 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

In this wide-ranging book, Sylvia Walby deploys her vast knowledge and wealth of research to break from inherited paradigms and to tackle the major challenges of globalization.

Michael Burawoy
University of California, Berkeley

What an important book this is! By using the tools complexity theory offers, Walby dismantles the conservative versions of systems theory and provides a new way of approaching the dynamics of intersectional change. Her view of system environment interactions with both stabilizing and destabilizing feedback loops is itself theoretically rich. Walby then uses this model to generate significant insights into the contested nature of modernity and the diverse ways that social democratic and liberal states have constructed equality and inequality. Her theoretical model will prove to be an essential resource for researchers concerned with understanding and steering social change.

Myra Marx Ferree
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Though as critical about the feminist critiques of social theory as she is about social theory itself, in this landmark work Sylvia Walby does not stop at outlining the mistakes in both. Aside from unpacking the conflations that hinder our understanding of the social and political world, she presents an intricate, comprehensive new social theory and explains its major premises and innovations carefully and precisely. She focuses on the dynamics and complexities of social relations, integrating in these dynamics the role of complex inequalities (class, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation). Then, as a grand dessert, the book not only delivers a convincing first empirical test to Walby's new theory, but also dares to take a normative position, all without resorting to hegemony... Enabling innovative understandings of age-old complexities through brand-new empirical and normative questions and answers, this book will and should affect all research in social sciences.

Mieke Verloo
Radboud University Nijmegen and IWM Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna

Having read her book, one can't help but see what was thought to be clear in new ways. Globalization and Inequalities is an impressive example of creativity realized on the one hand and a provocation to further creativity on the other... A major accomplishment.

Devorah Kalekin-Fishman
International Sociology Review of Books

An ambitious and complex book, in which Walby proposes solutions for some enduring problems in sociological theory; in particular, problems in theorizing large complex systems, such as whole societies.

Joan Acker
Work, Employment & Society

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