Bottero, Wendy and Irwin, Sarah
Locating difference: class, 'race’ and gender and the shaping of social inequalities
The Sociological Review, 51, (4), . (doi:10.1111/j.1467-954X.2003.00431.x).
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The current interest in difference has arisen in part because of its importance in recent recognition claims, and in part because of a belief that as a concept it can illuminate social diversity. Debates here have stressed the importance of the symbolic in the construction of social relations and social diversity, and have highlighted the relational underpinnings of diversity. In this paper we seek to take forward aspects of such an analysis by examining some issues in the shaping of difference and inequalities in the domains of gender, class and 'race'. It is our argument that we can gain insights in these domains by better describing and theorising the mutuality of value and material social relations. The paper argues that issues of identity and difference need to be more firmly located within relational accounts of social practice, and in the nature of claims (to recognition and resources) which emerge out of different social locations. By exploring issues of difference in debates on class, gender and 'race', we argue that relational accounts must be placed within a perspective that also emphasises the content and patterned nature of (highly differentiated) social relations.
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