Public Perceptions of Inequality in Changing Times: Implications for Politics and Society
- Date: Monday 12 June 2017, 13:00 – 16:00
- Location: Social Sciences Building
- Cost: Free
The event brings together a range of speakers to explore the ambivalent nature of public attitudes towards, poverty, inequality, welfare and redistribution.
In recent years, there have been marked changes in the ordering of inequalities and social difference. Despite this, there is continued ambivalence in what the general public think about inequality and public policy responses to it. To temper inequalities of outcome and opportunity, social policy must effectively engage with and respond to this ambivalence. In this regard, sociological enquiry into public perceptions of inequality can provide insight into processes shaping the nature of public dissent, consent and institutional legitimacy surrounding inequality.
If social policymaking is shaped and constrained by public attitudes and policy preferences, this presents a number of important questions for sociology and social policy as academic disciplines and applied fields. How are the causes and consequences of inequality understood and justified by the general public? Why is it that extensive concerns about inequalities sit alongside distaste for redistribution and more punitive attitudes to certain forms of welfare? What role do public perceptions of inequality play in shaping the collective identity and orientation of social citizens? How do socio-economic inequalities relate to people’s beliefs about moral belonging? What bearing does this have on the progressive potential and direction of social and public policy?
To answer these questions, this half-day colloquium is organised by the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds in partnership with the Leeds Inequalities Research Network. The event brings together a range of speakers to explore the ambivalent nature of public attitudes towards, poverty, inequality, welfare and redistribution. This includes examination of everyday experiences and understandings of inequality and what bearing this has on the identity and policy preferences of individuals across the income distribution. In light of the evidence presented, the colloquium closes with a collective panel discussion to consider what challenges and opportunities this presents for progressive social and public policy in both the short and long term.
13:00-13:10 - Welcome and Introduction
13:10-13:50 - “Nostalgia narratives? Pejorative attitudes to welfare in historical perspective”, Professor John
Hudson, University of York
13:50-14:20 - “The ‘sociological imagination’ of unequal citizens”, Dr Daniel Edmiston, University of Leeds
14:20-14:30 - Break
14:30-15:10 - “Public perceptions of inequality and social structure”, Professor Sarah Irwin, University of Leeds
15:10-15:50 - “Why do people put up with inequality?”, Dr Wendy Bottero, University of Manchester
15:50-16:25 - Facilitated Panel Discussion
16:25-16:30 - Close
For a book of abstracts, please click here.
Social Sciences Building
School of Sociology and Social Policy
University of Leeds