Deverteuil, Geoffrey (2009) Inequality. In, Kitchen, Robert and Thrift, Nigel (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Kidlington, UK, Elsevier, 433-445. (doi:10.1016/B978-008044910-4.00963-9).


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Inequality is defined as both unjust and unequal distributions and outcomes. The focus here is on economic inequality, because most of the world’s population lives in capitalist societies where access to and quality of various elements of social well-being – including nutrition, shelter, health, education, employment opportunities, clean environments, leisure, security, social stability, and so forth – are increasingly determined by purchasing ability. Economic inequality inevitably creates social inequality, as some groups are denied access to these basic elements of social well-being. Geographers first became interested in the spatial implications of inequality during the 1970s, particularly within two key foundational subfields (Marxist urban political economy and welfare geography). The waning geographical interest in inequality during the 1980s was re-energized by the resurgence of global(ized) inequality in the 1990s and beyond, focusing on terms of income polarization and concentrated poverty. The role of the (welfare) state in mediating inequality is also discussed, including the sense that the state is now magnifying, rather than countering or ignoring, inequality. Similar issues are then highlighted in the less-developed world, particularly with regard to the urbanization of poverty and the spatial separation of the classes. Finally, a glimpse is offered into how geographers are currently studying inequality

Item Type: Book Section
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/B978-008044910-4.00963-9
ISBNs: 9780080449111 (hardback)
Related URLs:
Keywords: concentrated poverty, global city, inequality, inequity, polarization, poverty, spatial inequality, welfare geography, welfare state
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography > Economy, Culture, Space
ePrint ID: 69180
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
July 2009Published
May 2007Submitted
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:55

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