Beyond class and nation: reframing social inequalities in a globalizing world

Br J Sociol. 2007 Dec;58(4):679-705; discussion 707-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2007.00171.x.


From the start individualization theory is the investigation of the paradigm shift in social inequality. Furthermore it shows, how the transnationalization of social inequalities bursts the framework of institutional responses - nation state (parties), trade unions, welfare state systems and the national sociologies of social classes. In this essay I shall try to conceptually elucidate the 'cosmopolitan perspective' on relations of social inequality in three cases: (1) the inequality of global risk; (2) the Europe-wide dynamic of inequality; and (3) transnational inequalities, which emerge from the capacities and resources to transcend borders. Before that I take up Will Atkinson's question: 'What exactly constitutes individualization and to what extent has it really displaced class?' (Atkinson 2007: Abstract).

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Politics
  • Social Class*
  • Social Justice
  • Social Values*
  • Socioeconomic Factors