The Return of Inequality: Social Change and the Weight of History

Lecture series summer semester 2021 "Wealth and Social Inequality": MPIfG Lecture

  • Date: Apr 14, 2021
  • Time: 17:00 - 18:30
  • Speaker: Mike Savage
  • London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Sociology
  • Sign up: info@mpifg.de
The Return of Inequality: Social Change and the Weight of History
Although inequality is widely seen as the “defining challenge of our time,” the full stakes of the inequality have not been sufficiently appreciated, and the “inequality debate” has become mired in both academic and political in-fighting.

In this lecture, which draws on themes from his forthcoming book The Return of Inequality: Social Change and the Weight of History, Mike Savage will argue that escalating inequality is bound up with the exhaustion of modernist paradigms and the renewal of historical forms which sociologists have characteristically seen as past residues: empires, elites, city states, and racial and gender hierarchies. He will trace how inequality is bound up with the decline of national formations and contestation within and between increasingly powerful elites. He will explore how the sociology of inequality therefore needs to broaden out from measuring the dimensions and characteristics of inequality to a broader historical understanding of long-term change.


Mike Savage is Martin White Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics. He was a founding director of the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute and has written extensively about social class divisions and inequality. His book The Return of Inequality: Social Change and the Weight of the Past will be published by Harvard University Press in May 2021.

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