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Inequality and poverty

The ill-fitting pieces in the EU’s development partnerships

Riina Pilke and Marikki Stocchetti

European Union (EU) development policy—poverty eradication and sustainable development in developing countries—poses a challenge in itself to any external intervention. Adding a reduction of inequality to this equation as another emerging development policy

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Gauging inequality among pastoralists

A problem of comparison

Paul Spencer

Poverty is a relative concept that is most meaningful within the context of social inequality in a particular culture. Among pastoralists in east Africa, often with mixed economies and herds that tend to fluctuate erratically over time, the problem of assessing poverty and wealth can be resolved by examining profiles of polygyny to provide a comparable index of wealth. Several profiles are examined in relation to a mathematical model based on the binomial series, with an emphasis on its social rather than mathematical implications. These series are especially apt because they closely follow the distribution of wives in a substantial sample of African societies, and they reveal different types of balances between competition and conformity associated with age and with status. The purpose of this essay is to redefine the problem of poverty in terms of the social profiles of inequality, leading toward a comparative analysis between cultures.

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Andrea Brandolini

Between 2007 and 2013, real per capita income and net wealth of Italian households fell by 13 and 10 percent, respectively. Unprecedented in the country's post-war record by size and duration, this deterioration of household finances was accompanied by more muted changes in inequality and relative poverty. Only absolute measures of consumption and income insufficiency surged. The more serious worsening of personal economic conditions for the young than for adults and, especially, the elderly is a disturbing legacy of the recessions of 2008–2009 and 2011–2013.

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“The World Is My Domain”

Technology, Gender, and Orientalism in German Interwar Motorized Adventure Literature

Sasha Disko

Following Germany's resounding defeat in the First World War, the loss of its status as a colonial power, and the series of severe political and economic upheavals during the interwar years, travel abroad by motor vehicle was one way that Germans sought to renegotiate their place in the world. One important question critical studies of mobility should ask is if technologies of mobility contributed to the construction of cultural inequality, and if so in which ways? Although Germans were not alone in using technology to shore up notions of cultural superiority, the adventure narratives of interwar German motorists, both male and female, expressed aspirations for renewed German power on the global stage, based, in part, on the claimed superiority of German motor vehicle technology.

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Yoram Ida, Amir Hefetz, Assaf Meydani, Gila Menahem, and Elad Cohen

intervention in the management of failing local governments. In light of the central role of national expenditures in determining inequality in access to resources and social opportunities for citizens, and the large portion of national spending that is

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Shobita Parthasarathy

, delivering our packages, and farming and processing our food, not to mention working in our hospitals. The pandemic has even exposed how the public policies that seem the most objective maintain and reinforce inequalities. In this short article, I focus on

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Stephan Feuchtwang

from power and economic inequality. Hierarchy and civilization are obviously affected by political economy and its changes, but hierarchy and civilization are at the same distinguishable as affecting and encompassing those changes. Classes are

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Mutuality, responsibility, and reciprocity in situations of marked inequality

Dilemmas of, and concerning, US anthropology in the world

Virginia R. Dominguez

Paradoxes shape the relationship of the US anthropological community to its counterparts elsewhere and require new thinking about leadership that focuses on mutuality, responsibility, reciprocity, and pragmatism. Explored here are some key contradictions I see in ways of looking at the current, past, or plausible role of the US anthropological community and, in particular, the American Anthropological Association and its nearly forty Sections. Marked inequality exists among national and international anthropological organizations in size, finances, journal production, and conference attendance and often in perceived degree of importance, control, vibrancy, or agenda-setting. Yet this intervention argues for ways to mitigate that marked inequality, nonetheless, by refusing a binary us-them conceptualization and emphasizing creative pragmatism, mutuality, and responsibility. Unconventionally it even asks whether US anthropology should lead more in the world of anthropology than it currently does or lead less, and why both are worth exploring.

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Alpa Shah and Sara Shneiderman

This is the introduction to a special section of Focaal that includes seven articles on the anthropology of affirmative action in South Asia. The section promotes the sustained, critical ethnographic analysis of affirmative action measures adopted to combat historical inequalities around the world. Turning our attention to the social field of affirmative action opens up new fronts in the anthropological effort to understand the state by carefully engaging the relationship between the formation and effects of policies for differentiated citizenship. We explore this relationship in the historical and contemporary context of South Asia, notably India and Nepal. We argue that affirmative action policies always transform society, but not always as expected. The relationship between political and socioeconomic inequality can be contradictory. Socioeconomic inequalities may persist or be refigured in new terms, as policies of affirmative action and their experiential effects are intimately linked to broader processes of economic liberalization and political transformation.

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Bina Fernandez

International migration in the contemporary era of globalization generates complex inequalities that require a non-statist approach to justice. This paper considers how the analysis of these inequalities may be fruitfully undertaken using Nancy Fraser’s framework of redistribution, recognition, and representation. The discussion uses empirical material from a case study of Ethiopian women who migrate as domestic workers to countries in the Middle East. The paper suggests potential directions for more transformative approaches to justice within the context of international migration.