Inequality is one of the most burning issues of our time, affecting young people in particular. What causes inequality? And how can actors at the local level combat the causes, not only the symptoms? By seeking to answer these questions, the book will contribute to this growing and transdisciplinary subject area by using mainly qualitative research and a perspective that integrates theory in every phase of the analysis.
Drawing on cultural political economy, based on critical realism, the author claims that the most important causes of inequality are the ones inherent as potentials in capitalism and the capitalist type of state. Compared with the first post-war decades, these potential causes have been actualised differently since around 1980. They are also actualised differently across Europe. The book explores these differences concerning growth models and welfare regimes. In general, societies have developed into a new condition of social inclusion, which explains why many young people have become excluded. Societal borders have arisen in the cities, separating the winners and losers of inequality.
Positioning itself outside the box of what tends to be the majority of the publications in the field, the book proposes knowledge alliances between young people, policy-makers, civil society and researchers to combat the causes of inequality.
Mikael Stigendal is Professor in Sociology at Malmö University, Sweden. His doctoral thesis from 1994 dealt with the Swedish societal model, from a local perspective on Malmö. Thereafter, his research has highlighted the emergence of social exclusion in European cities, particularly regarding the situation for young people. In his explanations, he has explored how societies have developed into new conditions of social inclusion. Much of his research has been carried out interactively, in collaboration with municipal employees, voluntary workers and young people.
2. What Is Inequality?
3. Why Does Inequality Exist?
4. Systemic Causes of Inequality
5. From Decreasing to Increasing Inequality
6. Financialised Economies
7. Austerity and Individualisation
8. Inequalities in the Cities
9. Combatting Inequality
10. Concluding Summary
"An important contribution to understanding youth inequality in Europe, combining an ambitious, multi-dimensional theoretical framework, a critical discussion of EU policies, and concrete empirical knowledge from case studies of city neighbourhoods in ten countries. On the basis of experiences from the latter Stigendal also provides guidelines for local combats against inequality and exclusion."
- Goeran Therborn, author of The Killing Fields of Inequality, and of Cities of Power
"Mikael Stigendal makes a passionate plea to take young people serious in policies to combat inequality in European cities. After exposing the limits of policies that focus on problems and deficiencies, his potential-oriented approach offers rich empirical insights on initiatives and policies that empower young people in their cities and neighbourhoods."
- Andreas Novy, Head of the Institute for Multi-Level Governance and Development, Vienna University of Economics and Business