Dmitry Kurakin 1, 2
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
  • 2 Yale University, 204 Prospect St., room 2004, New Haven, CT, USA, 06511

Tragedy of Inequality: Dehumanizing “L’Homme Total”

2020, vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 167–231 [issue contents]
Inequality is amongst the most fundamental and formidable social problems of modernity. It thus does not come as a surprise that it is a major theme that cuts through multiple areas of sociology. However, the major limitation of most social research on inequality is that its focus is often limited to the redistribution of resources, be them material or symbolic. Indeed, some of the most important effects of inequality, ones that make inequality so crucial to studies of modernity, go far beyond unfair access to certain goods. These reveal themselves in elements of social disintegration, lack of social cohesion, multidimensional social exclusion, marginalization of large social groups and gaps between their basic frames of references, which can reach the level of mutual impenetrability. To achieve an integrated perspective, this study follows the lead of quickly developing frontier approaches in the cultural sociology of inequality, and, following its leaders’ appeals, focuses on another dimension of inequality that is complementary to distribution — a social recognition of personal and social group identities. This allows us to assess how economic forces associated with inequality interact with cultural patterns and cognitive processes which persist in the behaviors of both individuals and social groups. Following this line of inquiry, this study focuses on cultural and emotional mechanisms of recognition and how it shapes people’s identity and dignity, and tries to tie these mechanisms to cognitive processes, which shape people’s aspirations and can “ignite” their actions. This study is ultimately intended as a kind of “manifesto” for the sociology of culture and inequality, and thus includes calls for wider intra- and inter-disciplinary input and collaboration in these areas.
Citation: Kurakin D. (2020) Tragediya neravenstva: raschelovechivaya «total'nogo cheloveka» [Tragedy of Inequality: Dehumanizing “L’Homme Total”]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 19, no 3, pp. 167-231 (in Russian)
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