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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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Innovative Thinking on the Relationship between the Provision of Local Services and Inequality in Israel

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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Towards an anthropology of global inequalities and their local manifestations: social anthropology in 2017

Insa Koch

At a time when political, social and environmental inequalities proliferate around the globe, anthropologists need to be equipped to diagnose, analyse and respond. This review of the anthropological research published in European journals in 2017 identifies three sets of tensions for an inquiry into global inequalities: first, between macro political economy processes and their localised workings/effects; second, between institutional processes of legitimisation and their everyday forms of resistance; and third, between future‐oriented projects of change and the political demands of the present. Taken together, these sets of tensions not only offer a starting point for analysing how global inequalities are locally channelled, experienced and acted on from below, but also point to the political and methodological challenges that anthropologists face in today's neoliberal climate of higher education.

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Exploring the Relevance of Fraser’s Ethical-Political Framework of Justice to the Analysis of Inequalities Faced by Migrant Workers

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.

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The practices, policies, and politics of transforming inequality in South Asia

Ethnographies of affirmative action

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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The Making of Global Inequality

A Conceptual History, 1945–1980

Christian Olaf Christiansen

This article is a history of the making of the term global inequality . 1 Today, global inequality is often presented as one of the defining issues of our present. 2 The United Nations defines inequality as one of the grand challenges facing

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The Mainstreaming of Global Inequality, 1980–2020

Christian Olaf Christiansen

Today, global inequality is seen as one of the defining issues of the present: Oxfam reports that only eight individuals own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world's people, highlighting our current “global inequality crisis.” 1 But when

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The politics of affect

Perspectives on the rise of the far-right and right-wing populism in the West

Sindre Bangstad, Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, and Heiko Henkel

two panels analyzed the question of what role inequality have played and continue to play in the rise of these social and political formations. The anthropological and other scholarly literature on affect is by now voluminous (see, e.g., Ahmed 2004

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Battlegrounds of dependence

Reconfiguring labor, kinship and relational obligation

Keir Martin, Ståle Wig, and Sylvia Yanagisako

–World War II mixed economy consensus in the late 1970s was the only period in human history in which inherited wealth inequality lessened in Europe and North America ( Piketty 2014 ). It is understandable that in this context the argument that kinship was