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Understanding Inequalities: Stratification and Difference

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4175-1
204 pages
August 2011, Polity
Understanding Inequalities: Stratification and Difference (074564175X) cover image
Bringing together the latest empirical evidence with a discussion of sociological debates surrounding inequality, this book explores a broad range of inequalities in people's lives. As well as treating the core sociological topics of class, ethnicity and gender, it examines how inequalities are experienced across a variety of settings, including education, health, geography and housing, income and wealth, and how they cumulate across the life course. Richly illustrated with graphs and figures showing the extent of inequalities and the differences between social groups, the book demonstrates how people's lives are structured by inequalities across multiple dimensions of their lives.

Throughout, the text pays attention to how we know what we know about inequality: what is measured and how, what is left out of the picture, and what implications this has for our understanding of specific inequalities. Importantly, the book also highlights the intersections between different sources or forms of inequality, and the ways that bringing an intersectional lens to bear on topics can highlight and challenge the assumptions about how they operate.

Designed for second-year undergraduates and above, this book provides an engaging overview of social stratification and challenges readers to think about how inequalities are embedded across society.

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1. Introduction
1.1 The importance of inequality
1.2 Equality and inequality: concepts and definitions
1.3 Inequalities across groups
1.4 Coverage and key themes
2. Class
2.1 Concepts, definitions, measurement
2.2 Class distributions and inequalities
2.3 Social mobility
3. Gender
3.1 Definitions, concepts and coverage
3.2 Gender inequalities in work
3.3 Gender and domestic work: women's double burden?
3.4 Gender, class and caring: inequalities between women
4. Ethnicity
4.1 Ethnicity: definitions and measures
4.2 Ethnic groups and diversity
4.3 Ethnic minorities in the labour market
5. Youth and age
5.1 Inequalities across the lifecourse
5.2 Inequalities in youth and age
5.3 Inequalities in mid-life
6. Education
6.1 Qualifications and inequality
6.2 Education and gender
6.3 Ethnicity, education and intersections
6.4 Higher education and inequality
7. Income, wealth and poverty
7.1 Concepts and measures
7.2 Illustrating inequalities in income, wealth and poverty
7.3 Ethnic minority women's poverty
8. Health and disability
8.1 Disability, definitions and scope of chapter
8.2 Disability and inequality
8.3 Health inequalities
9. Housing and geography
9.1 Deprived areas
9.2 Housing
10. Conclusions: Inequality, Intersectionality and Diversity
References
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Lucinda Platt is professor of sociology at the Institute of Education.
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  • Explores social inequalities and the part they play in people's day-to-day lives, a core concern of sociology
  • Importantly moves beyond the traditionally well-covered areas of gender, race and class, to engage with a wider range of inequalities (e.g. age, disability)
  • Brings together a wealth of the latest empirical evidence with a discussion of key sociological debates and issues
  • Written by an author with particular expertise in measuring inequalities, paying close attention to the finer points of social life that statistics can overlook
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"This book is an absolute blockbuster on the state of inequality in Britain! With razor sharp intellect Platt explodes the myth of a classless, affluent, equitable British society by deconstructing the politically charged realities of decreasing social mobility, child poverty, and the growing divide between rich and poor. No politician, journalist, policy maker, academic or student who cares about social justice should be without this authoritative book."
Heidi Safia Mirza, Institute of Education, University of London

"Lucinda Platt has written an admirably lucid text which provides a concise assessment of how to measure and interpret inequalities across key dimensions of contemporary British social life. This will be an invaluable aid for students and researchers alike."
Mike Savage, Manchester University

"Lucinda Platt has produced a masterful overview of the main contours of inequality in the contemporary UK. With its creative treatment of recent theoretical developments and insightful summary of empirical research, Understanding Inequalities is both a valuable textbook and an important contribution to scholarship."
Thomas A. DiPrete, University of Wisconsin - Madison

"An excellent collection of empirical material."
Sociology

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