Research Dimension I: Socio-economic Inequalities
The research on socio-economic dimensions of social inequalities (Research Dimension I) takes a clear structural perspective. The basic approaches derived from political economics and sociology. However, the interdisciplinary design of desiguALdades.net explicitly welcomes contributions from history and legal studies as well.
- Socio-economic inequalities in a globalized economy: Since colonization, Latin America has always been part of an interdependent global economy. However, its position in the system of an international division of labor has changed significantly throughout the course of its "entangled history". Besides research on the historical dimension, we will focus on the recent reorganization of world trade. In many cases, this has led to an increase of socio-economic inequalities and to new interdependencies between economic processes in different world regions. Due to this reorganization, Latin America is integrated again into the global economy, mainly as a provider of natural resources, carrying specific risks as well as opportunities to different social groups. In addition, new transregional interdependencies have emerged, such as transpacific socio-economic interdependencies, constituting new systems of transregional inclusion and exclusion.
- Socio-economic inequalities and financial crises: Instabilities of the (global) financial markets have shaped the region’s patterns of inequality to a significant extent. The continent looks back on a long history of financial crises, the current global financial crisis just being one of them. Financial crises have contributed to the high volatility of growth and income as well as to relatively low long-term growth rates when compared internationally. In that perspective, economic crises have strengthened the persistence and the increase of poverty and inequality in Latin America.
- Socio-economic inequalities and liberalization: In the past decades Latin America has served as a laboratory for radical market-oriented reforms, with strong liberalization towards domestic and international markets. In this regard, one example of interdependent inequalities to be studied are price increases for relevant consumer goods and services in the context of foreign direct investments, causing a significant increase in costs especially for poorer households.
- Interdependent flows due to migration and remittances: While Latin America has been a continent for immigration for centuries, the recent enormous "export" of migrants towards industrialized countries has caused a significant transnational re-distribution in the last decades. This redistribution includes a large inflow of financial transfers with highly mixed effects, but also social remittances, understood as a complex set of ideas, practices, identities, and social capital. Both play a central role in reshaping local, communal, and individual configurations of social inequality. At the same time, migration can also be understood as part of the formation of new transnational production chains. Family economies for example are transnationalized through their integration in transnational care economies, in which (mostly female) migrants from Latin America and other low income countries take over care work within families of higher income countries.