Challenging Inequalities: developing a global response

14 June 2017

London School of Economics and Political Science



The International Inequalities Annual Conference 2017 - Challenging Inequalities: developing a global response took place on 14 June 2017 at LSE. The event drew in a wide, international audience with presentations from leading thinkers in academia and beyond. 

You can watch the video of each session below and download the presenter's slides. 

Social and Economic Mobility: are destinies diverging?

The topic of social mobility attracts huge academic, political and media interest. There is extensive social scientific research testifying that there are major – possibly intensifying - structural processes which limit mobility across numerous axes. This session will offer cutting edge reflections both on trends in social mobility in the USA, Europe and the UK. Contributions will look at how changing educational investments by parents are affecting achievement gaps; at how social mobility between generations is declining in some countries but not in others; and at how deep structural divisions in life chances play into populist and nationalist political repertoires. The evidence raises the question of how should societies should respond? 

- Professor Jane Waldfogel – Columbia University (slides)
- Mike Savage – LSE (slides)
- Anna Ludwine – Eurofound (slides)
- Dr. Faiza Shaheen – Centre for Labour and Social Sciences (CLASS)
- Professor John Hills – LSE (chair)


From Ideas to Practice: new frontiers in research

Alan Hirsch (chair)

PhD presentations:
Kerris Cooper – LSE (slides)
- Refilwe Lepelle – University of Cape Town (slides)
- Lisa Windsteiger – LSE (slides)

Visiting Atlantic Fellows projects:
- Abigail McKnight - LSE (slides)
- Naila Kabeer - LSE (slides)
- Will Bartlett - LSE
- Lisa McKenzie - LSE

Othering and Belonging: race, poverty and disability

A powerful force in defence by the privileged of existing inequalities and the status quo is to present and understand those who are disadvantaged as in some way ‘other’, different from the majority group, as ‘them’ rather than ‘us’. This potentially dehumanising process shapes personal and social perceptions of societal realities. This session will explore how this affects debates around race and ethnicity, poverty and disability. How can such beliefs and narratives be challenged successfully? What are the potential roles of leadership in changing how issues are debated, of using human rights approaches to defend and build respect for groups that are stigmatised or excluded, and of campaigning to change perceptions, challenge people’s assumptions and celebrate diversity?

- john a powell – University of California, Berkeley (slides)
- Baroness Lister of Burtersett – House of Lords and Loughborough University (full text)
- Liz Sayce – Disability Rights UK (slides)
- June Sarpong (chair)

Health Equity: barriers and opportunities

This session looks at different aspects of health equity and inequalities in countries where economies, societies and politics are very different, but where many of the links between people’s health and wide inequalities are similar. In the USA the introduction of ‘Obamacare’ represented a major expansion of health coverage to people previously excluded from it. What then are the equity implications of its promised repeal and of different versions of ‘Trumpcare’ now at the centre of fierce debate? In South Africa, the starting point is very different in terms of health systems and incomes, but are the fundamental factors driving health differences similar? What can be done to promote health equity, given this background? Similarly, in the UK, what can be achieved by initiatives on the ground that challenge inequalities and promote resilience, bringing together researchers, practitioners and people who have experienced vulnerability themselves?

- Chuck Collins – Institue of Policy Studies (slides)
- Dr Mvuyo Tom – Tekano and Atlantic Fellows programme for Health Equity in South Africa (slides)
- Anne Rathbone and Simon Duncan – Boing Boing (slides)
- Aaron Reeves - LSE (chair)

Inequalities: changing the terms of the debate

Discussions around the causes and consequences of inequalities fill newspapers, social media and political discourse around the world. These discussions are often framed around common, sometiems damaging, narratives - which strongly affect public understanding. Given the power of those with a vested interest in maintaining some forms of inequality, can anything be done about this? What can - and what is already being done - internationally and within countries to change the terms of their debates?


- Jee Kim – Narrative Initiative (slides)
- Katy Wright – Oxfam GB (slides)
- Professor Amartya Sen – Harvard University
- Bev Skeggs - LSE (chair)