Call for papers

8. Social inequality in the Nordic Societies: Social Stratification in Education, Labor Markets, and Wealth Accumulation

Coordinator(s): Øyvind Wiborg (Department of sociology and human geography, University of Oslo, Norway) 

Western societies are experiencing rapid changes with huge implications on many levels. On a political level, western democracies are under pressure from non-democratic forces. BREXIT, Trump, and the growth of radical and popular right-wing movements in European societies represent notable examples of these developments. There are many sources behind such significant changes, but growing social inequalities and tensions between different social groupings represent a major factor.   

The Scandinavian societies are no longer safe havens. Despite being some of the most egalitarian societies, also the Nordic countries have experienced noticeable increments in inequality over the last decades. As in other Western societies, the increasing divides have bolstered traditional sociological dimensions such as social classes, socioeconomic status, and school and neighborhood segregation, often intertwined with new dimensions such as inequality between ethnic groups. Nevertheless, a new social force has marked its entrance in Nordic societies: the growing inequality in wealth accumulation. Surprising to many, the levels of inequality in wealth in Scandinavia match other Western societies with rather high levels of inequality. This new social force has significant implications for stratification processes over the life course and across generations.   

In this session, we call for empirical studies that focus on social inequalities across or within generations, which address central concerns within sociological stratification research.  More specifically, we call for papers that focus on educational attainment (performance and choices), and the outcomes of those choices (rewards and opportunities in the labor market). We call for papers that focus on wealth accumulation, either transmission across generations or sources of accumulation within the life courses. We also welcome papers that deal with other consequences of the increasing divides between the haves and have-nots, such as digital divides, the form of rhetoric and use of social media, political preferences, and voting behaviors.