Ellis Monk: Inequality without Groups: Contemporary Theories of Categories, Intersectional Typicality, and the Disaggregation of Difference


Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 4:00pm to 5:30pm


Zoom Link below

Economic Sociology Seminar presentation by Ellis Monk Harvard University.

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The study of social inequality and stratification (e.g., ethnoracial and gender) has long been at the core of sociology and the social sciences. In this article, I argue that certain tendencies have become entrenched in our dominant paradigm that leave many researchers pursuing coarse-grained analyses of how difference relates to inequality. Centrally, despite the importance of categories and categorization for how researchers study social inequality, contemporary (as opposed to classical) theories of categories are poorly integrated into conventional research. I contend that the widespread and often unquestioned use of state categories as categories of analysis reinforces these tendencies. Using research on colorism as an inspiration, I highlight several components of what I call the infracategorical model of inequality, which urges researchers to disaggregate difference by shifting our focus from membership in (nominal) categories to the cues of categories, membership in subcategories, and perceived typicality.