Inequality is one of the most discussed topics of our times. Yet, we still do not know how to tackle the issue effectively. The book argues that this is due to the lack of understanding the structures responsible for the persistence of social inequality. It enquires into the mechanisms that produce and reproduce invisible dividing lines in society. Based on original case studies of Brazil, Germany, India and Laos comprising thousands of interviews, the authors argue that invisible classes emerge in capitalist societies, both reproducing and transforming precapitalist hierarchies. At the same time, locally particular forms of inequality persist. Social inequality in the contemporary world has to be understood as a specific combination of precapitalist inequalities, capitalist transformation and a particular class structure, which seems to emerge in all capitalist societies. The book links the configurations to an interpretation of global domination as well as to symbolic classification.
1. Understanding Social Inequality
2. Classes and Habitus in Germany
3. The Capitalist Transformation in Laos
4. Understanding the Class Struggle in Brazil
5. The Indian Story of Inequality
6. Capitalism and Inequality on a Global Scale