Cultural Processes of Inequality

Cultural Processes of Inequality

A Sociological Perspective

By Amanda Udis-Kessler

Cultural Processes of Inequality: A Sociological Perspective show how systemic inequality is produced and reproduced through mundane, routine actions based on taken-for-granted assumptions. The book ties such cultural assumptions to personal and institutional behavior, drawing connections between individuals, culture (as meaning systems) and larger social structures.

Hardback, 200 Pages


July 2024

£80.00, $110.00

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About This Book

Cultural Processes of Inequality: A Sociological Perspective shows how systematic inequality is produced and reproduced through mundane, often taken-for-granted practices of offering someone the benefit of the doubt and treating them in good faith or, alternatively, of withholding the benefit of the doubt and treating them in bad faith. This straightforward way of thinking about value and devaluation, privilege and discrimination, works across multiple forms of inequality and at social levels ranging from interpersonal interactions to large-scale institutions, while showcasing the importance of different levels and types of social power (decision-making power, cultural power and individual power).

Good-faith and bad-faith assumptions and practices intersect with moral inclusion and exclusion, processes by which certain people or groups of people are defined as deserving or undeserving of moral treatment, often with tragic consequences. Cultural Processes of Inequality covers ways in which good-faith and bad-faith assumptions and practices play out through moral alchemy, false equivalencies, self-fulfilling prophecies, positive and negative visibility and invisibility and the linking of social groups to definitions of social problems, providing contemporary U.S. examples of how these often-underutilized sociological concepts make sense of racism, sexism and heterosexism. The role of members of devalued groups in reproducing or struggling against their devaluation is also considered.

Cultural Processes of Inequality concludes with concrete actions individuals and groups can take to build a good-faith society and includes an appendix discussing key sociological concepts to make the book more useful to undergraduate students who have not previously taken a sociology course as well as discussion questions for students. Written for students in sociology classes and accessible to generally educated readers, Cultural Processes of Inequality sheds light on components of systematic inequality that too often go undiscussed even as they play a daily role in the injustice and the many harms of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other forms of inequality.


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Author Information

Amanda Udis-Kessler is the author of Queer Inclusion in the United Methodist Church and a contributor to thirteen books on systemic inequality. A former sociology professor, she currently serves as the Director of Assessment and Program Review at Colorado College.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; List of Figures; Epigraphs Introduction; Chapter 1: Mattering: Inequality as Differential Valuation; Chapter 2: Power and Systemic Inequality; Chapter 3: The Benefit of the Doubt; Chapter 4: Moral Alchemy and False Equivalencies; Chapter 5: Assumptions, Expectations, and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies; Chapter 6: In/visibilities, Positive and Negative; Chapter 7: Problems and People; Chapter 8: Bringing the Processes Together; Chapter 9: Collusion; Chapter 10: Toward a Good-Faith Society; Appendix: Thinking Like a Sociologist; Bibliography


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