Economic Inequality| Contrasting Conceptions, Discourses and Studies of Economic Inequalities
Having been largely ignored for decades, the issues of economic and social inequalities have regained mainstream political attention in the Western capitalist countries in recent years. The inequality and austerity trends of recent decades pose significant challenges and implications for the prevailing models of liberal and electoral democracy, the structures and distribution of power, and in turn for understanding the role and practices of professional journalism and news media. Clearly, different conceptualizations, definitions, and framings of inequality and socioeconomic justice are central to the conduct and outcomes of such struggles over the future shape of the social order. This article begins by introducing the topic and competing conceptualizations of inequality. The second section, Modern Political and Economic Discourses and Inequality: Liberal and Others, provides a brief, if selective, overall review of how inequality matters have been addressed and understood in modern political economy as well as the more recent field of economics. The third section, Communication Studies and Inequalities: An Initial Review, outlines the results of a brief but systematic review of how socioeconomic inequalities are addressed in the relevant academic disciplines. The final section comprises some brief conclusions and implications.