9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN29 Social Theory

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 European Sociology: Beyond Methodological Nationalism? Building AA, AA.326

Social Inequalities in European Society or European Societies? Methodological Nationalism Challenge for Social Inequalities Theorizing and Research

Classical theorizing and methodology of the research on social inequalities is done within the frame of the "methodological nationalism". Sociological study and explanation of social classes, social mobility, causes and consequences of inequalities and institutions that regulate social dynamics of inequalities are done based on the study of the concrete society - national state. This "methodological nationalism" is rooted in the idea that social inequalities exist as a back side of the social equalities norms, standards, conceptions and attitudes. Norms towards social equality and legitimations of social inequalities are institutionalized mostly at the level of the practical culture, institutions and social informal and formal laws within the frame of the societies - national states. Social inequalities are not only unequal share of resources, social positions, statuses and opportunities, or any stable limits of the access to social goods. Only when there are the attitudes and notions of norms of social equality that legitimate definition of difference in distribution of resources, positions, statuses and opportunities as unequal, it could be stated that social inequality and the concept about it do exist. If there is no such a notion, it is more adequate to describe such phenomena as heterogeneity and differentiation.
The norms of equality, social justice, and, hence, social inequality constitute the frames of social perception within the practical culture of the society. Does it change its "national bound" in European integration process? Do people assess social inequalities and social justice the diverse way in different types of the European societies? Or the common visions and divisions would let us to argue the common space of the shared norms and values and the movement towards European society? The answers to the questions above is based on the data of European Social Survey (2002, 2004\5, 2006\7).