Class and the Politics of Inequality

Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Gellner room
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 4:30pm
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Don Kalb
Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology

Europe's undoing: the politics of class and the nation

Starting with a discussion of three or four different notions of class and intersection, I will argue that the globalization of capital combined with the neoliberalization of policy on national levels, overseen by a technocratic EU and often facilitated by third way social democrats, has locked up popular politics within ever more defensive nations. Processes of creeping dispossession and disenfranchisement of popular classes in this context have re-energized a nationalist Right everywhere in Europe. This is the wider background for Europe's inability to find a constructive path out of the crisis of financialized capitalism.


Susan Zimmerman
Gender Studies Department

The politics of gender and class in transnational suffrage struggle

The presentation explores how the formation of the Socialist Women’s International (1905-1907) was interrelated with the unequal development of suffrage politics and the struggle for the vote in Europe, and describes how these developments interlinked with the politics of the Second International and non-socialist women’s suffrage internationalism. I will demonstrate that the Socialist Women’s International was the product of a complex political struggle over three elements of intersecting inequality and unequal development. This struggle was about reducing or increasing class and gender disadvantage in relation to each other and about negotiating internationally – against the background of the unequal configuration of national voting rights – socialist and feminist suffrage politics in individual counties.


Julia Szalai
Center for Policy Studies

Inequalities by class and ethnicity and the ‘ethnopolitical dilemma’ in welfare distribution

In the past two decades, intense migration from the global South toward the global North has been accompanied by a significant increase of inequalities along the lines of ethnicity in European societies. At the same time, the deepening ethnic divides have been intersecting with a sharpening of conflicts by social class, whereby the classic class relations of Western societies have become impregnated by the multi-sided ‘differences of color’. The emerging new tensions invoke new measures in welfare distribution. However, alterations in the class-based welfare arrangements of post-war Europe generate new dilemmas: do the politics of inclusion for breaking up the intersectionality of class and ethnicity require a re-interpretation of universal citizenship rights as their foundation? Or else: should the politics of inclusion be framed by the legal-procedural recognition of minority rights and provide access to welfare within an ethnopolitical interpretation of entitlements? At any rate: is there a way out by preserving the classic notions of equality and justice as they were meant in the victorious post-war decades of the development of the European welfare states?

Chaired by
Eva Fodor, Gender Studies Department