Inequality in Britain: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Inequality in Britain

1st Edition

By Alan Ware


128 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780367331696
pub: 2019-12-06
SAVE ~$7.99
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9780367331603
pub: 2019-12-06
SAVE ~$30.00
Available for pre-order

FREE Standard Shipping!


This book provides a thorough and engaging analysis of inequality in Britain, including its long-term development and transformation since the beginning of the 20th century.

The author argues that inequality is not what it used to be - no longer can policy makers consider it just in terms of status, wealth and income. Having resurfaced strongly as an issue after the financial crisis of 2007-8, a truly informed discussion of inequality must now be wide ranging and take account of a variety of interacting factors. They include both a radically different role for education in the labour market and the interests of future generations. Government policies, market failures and fundamental changes in British society and economy in earlier decades have all contributed to inequality’s contemporary scope, intensity, and who it affects.

Alan Ware traces and illuminates the altered nature of inequality in Britain, its consequences, and especially its political implications. It offers a timely, concise and illuminating examination that will be of interest to all those concerned about inequality and, more broadly, to scholars and students of sociology, social/public policy, contemporary British history, political sociology, and political theory.


"Alan Ware’s account emphasises how positional competition drives inequality, with adverse effects not only on social welfare but also on venerable institutions, especially education. This sparkling and original contribution highlights the political implications of the changing relationship between money, class and status in contemporary Britain."

Deborah Mabbett, Birkbeck, University of London, UK.

"Inequality in Britain is an essential guide to understanding what there is to know about inequality in Britain. Alan Ware draws together the lessons of disparate fields into a comprehensive analysis of the interactions between multiple sources of inequality, demonstrating the fundamental relationships between class, gender and ethnicity. He seamlessly draws together historical perspectives and data driven economic accounts into a book that is both highly informative and a damn good read. An absolute must for the bookshelves of anyone who is concerned about who we are and what we might become."

Rosie Campbell, King’s College London, UK.

"What this book promises is a sketch map of how different aspects of inequality fit together. It achieves that aim admirably. But it does so much more. It shows how the development of inequality is driven by positional competition, relative deprivation and the cumulative effects of social and policy developments over time. Its concluding message - that creative political leadership is essential for an adequate set of policy responses – is both sober and ambitious. A tour de force."

Albert Weale, University College London, UK.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Money and Status

3. Positional Competition

4. Merit, Markets and Luck

5. Generations and Policies

6. Social Inequality and Diversity

7. Inequality in a Democracy

8. Observations on Future Redistribution in Britain

About the Author

Alan Ware is an Emeritus Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford University, and a Senior Research Associate of University College London, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in British Politics

This series aims to engage experts in the fields of UK politics, political history and public policy-making whilst addressing a wide array of political dynamics, contexts, histories and ideas. Many of the current major political trends and issues - such as the long-term impact of Brexit, the implications of political disenchantment, the surge in party membership, growing constitutional strains on the UK, and the unbalanced nature of formal political participation in terms of class, gender and ethnicity - are major challenges to political elites.

The series will retain a particular focus on British government, British politics and public policy, while locating those issues within a European and global context. Its will aim to:

  • Promote research excellence with regards to British politics, including interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Disseminate relevant knowledge widely.
  • Engage and inform the public debate about the nature of British politics.
  • Contribute towards the development of public policy.
  • Stimulate innovation in teaching and research.

The series will initially focus on five core areas: 

  • Political thought and ideology: the dynamics of ideological change within and outside political parties; mapping the interplay of ideology and policy; debating different ideological traditions in British politics; and considering the impact of new forms of critical political thought
  • British party politics: how different parties in British politics are responding to new electoral, organizational and policy challenges.
  • Remodelling the UK polity: (De)Europeanization, devolution, and multi-level governance are promoting new national projects while delegating and dispersing powers from the centre through a ‘new localism’.
  • Managing the public household: including regulation, industrial policy, the economics of austerity, and politics beyond the crisis.  
  • Society and State: citizen-focused public policy, digital politics, the relationship between parliament and citizens, the politics of gender, civic participation, populism, immigration and culture, declining public trust, and the politics of public expectations.

For guidance on how to structure your proposal, please visit:

Book proposals should be sent to the series editors:

Series editors:

Patrick Diamond, Queen Mary University, London

Tim Bale, Queen Mary University, London



Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General