Sylvia Fuller

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Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2019)
Attitudes towards inequality in cross-national perspective : tracing the endurance of social class in modern societies (2020)

This dissertation employs quantitative techniques including random and fixed effects linear regression to analyze a dataset comprised of 27 over 17 years to explore the extent to which people are critical of inequalities in modern societies. It investigates whether the positions people occupy in the social forces of production influence the extent to which they view inequality critically. This research also examines the interplay between placement within the class structure, political orientations and national-level factors in determining critical inequality views. The findings reveal that peoples’ disapproval towards inequality is strongly reflective of their class position. Yet, this also depends on their political persuasions and changes at different levels of income inequality. This is because the self-interests associated with class largely determines the views of those who are right-leaning, with working class conservatives significantly more likely to condemn inequality compared to their counterparts in upper class positions. The research also shows that the working classes are concerned with inequality in both unequal and more equal societies. As inequality increases, however, the views that the various classes have towards inequality begin to converge. Indeed, the results reveal that in contexts where inequality is high, upper class inequality views are more critical than the working class. This has possible policy implications, particularly as income inequality continues to grow.

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