How has globalization changed social inequality? In this groundbreaking book, Globalization and Inequalities, Sylvia Walby examines the many changing forms of social inequality and their intersectionalities at both country and global levels. She shows how the contest between different modernities and conceptions of progress shape the present and future.

The book re-thinks the nature of economy, polity, civil society and violence. It places globalization and inequalities at the center of an innovative new understanding of modernity and progress and demonstrates the power of these theoretical reformulations in practice, drawing on global data and in-depth analysis of the U.S. and EU.

Walby analyzes the tensions between the different forces that are shaping global futures. She examines the regulation and deregulation of employment and welfare; domestic and public gender regimes; secular and religious polities; path dependent trajectories and global political waves; and global inequalities and human rights.

Globalization and Inequalities is essential reading for undergraduate and graduate students and academics of sociology, social theory, gender studies and politics and international relations, geography, economics and law.




Polities constitute an institutionalized domain, a sedimentation of political forces in a system of centralized institutions that govern the economy, violence, and civil society. The nature of political institutions is the outcome of past political struggles that continue to have implications into the future as a consequence of their embeddedness in institutions. States and polities need to be reconceptualized in order to fully take into account complex inequalities and global processes. Four themes are addressed in this chapter: the reconceptualization of types of polities; the non-saturation of a territory by any one polity, and the implications of their overlaps; rethinking the conceptualization of democracy; the development of democracy.

First, the concept of state is too narrow to capture the range of political institutions that are ...

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