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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2021

Social Inequalities―Theoretical Focus

From the book Soziologie - Sociology in the German-Speaking World

Thomas Schwinn


The sociology of inequality over the past few decades has been characterized by its fragmentation into an assembly of small-scale aspects of inequality and by a disjointed perspective that breaks up the modern history of inequality into several phases. This is the result of shortcomings in previous theory-building. This contribution presents new theoretical approaches that have been developed in the past years: a micro-sociological or action-theoretical one, a macro-sociological one, and some strategies-at a meso level of abstraction-that allow us to identify mechanisms of social inequality.The article will highlight the limitations and opportunities of these recent approaches, especially by clarifying the question of what characterizes the basic constellation of social inequalities in the current era.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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