(Last modified August 2012)
The ordering of social inequality is in flux globally. In many NICs and rising economies rapid economic growth and political stabilization are causing shifts in the social structure. There are signs that these developments not only produce winners, but also new forms of social exclusion, status inconsistencies, and a strengthening of existing systems of social exclusion.
This research examines whether Latin America exhibits structurally similar developments and societal dynamics to those found in the traditional industrial states. Spanish-language social science and economics literature will be analyzed to provide an overview of the dynamics of sociostructural development in Latin America.
The project will investigate from a macroanalytical perspective how the structures of social inequality have developed in Latin America. The region is a potentially productive case because of its deep and historically rooted structures of inequality in combination with contemporary processes of leveling. One aspect will be to describe how the middle classes develop in these countries in relation to ongoing processes of economic growth, macroeconomic stabilization, consolidation of democracy, and economic and development strategies.
The second aspect of the work concentrates on the structures of exclusion in the population strata that have always been poor. Are new possibilities of upward social mobility appearing? Are new social risks and dangers emerging that make it harder to participate in rising affluence? The issues involved here include new ways of structuring social space in Latin American cities (keyword: "gated communities"), the question of the indigenous population's chances of participation, new approaches in social policy, and labor market restructuring.