INEQUALITY: A CONTEMPORARY APPROACH
TO RACE, CLASS, AND GENDER
Lisa A. Keister |Darby E. Southgate
New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 416 pages. Paperback.
Inequality: A contemporary approach to race, class, and gender.By
Lisa A. Keister and Darby E. Southgate. New York, NY: Cambridge
University Press, 2012. 416 pages. Hardcover. $121.
This book covers inequalities existing and deepening in society
and provides concrete guide to explain and analyze inequality research
issues. It is written so that the readers who are not familiar with soci-
ology and inequality can understand the contents of inequality in our
society. Furthermore, research procedures and useful date source in
this book will help readers acquire valuable insights about measuring
The contents of this book mainly consisted of two parts. First, the
basic concepts that are used to explain inequality such as class, social
strategy, and related social theories are covered. Next is the application
of inequality in socialissues. Specific areas of application are inequalities
in class, social mobility, gender race/ethnicity, and culture. Additionally,
inequalities in the globe and public policy issues such as reducing
poverty, wage gap, and discrimination are suggested to readers.
The United States, which has accumulated a lot of wealth around
the world, is one of the most unequal countries. Specifically, the
United States has higher levels of inequality such as Gini index, which
is a common measurement about overall inequality than other devel-
oped countries (pp. 339–340). One major reason for the growing
inequality in the United States could be found in the U.S. market sys-
tem and structure. The United States has adopted economic structure
of capitalism, and it could cause inequality (p. 380). Based on this
structure, the welfare system and policy in the United States is not
as comprehensive or inclusive as what is seen in the Nordic European
countries such as Sweden and Denmark.
It should be noted that inequality issues in some countries that
focus on market roles in welfare are occurring like the United States.
What is interesting is that these countries have similar political and
market system with the United States. South Korea can be a good
example for this. The South Korean government adopted not only
the U.S. market system but also many public policies of the United
States as the government has developed their industries and econo-
mies. Moreover, South Korea is largely engaged in the market system
of the United States and follows the path that the United States has
taken in the way that inequalities and polarization are exacerbated.
On the other hand, as there is strong emphasis on the Nordic wel-
fare policy in South Korea, the government is at a crossroads in setting
policy direction. The South Korean government is in situations that too
many policies and institutions from both the United States based on
economic structure of capitalism and European nation style policy
are layered to restructure social welfare delivery system efficiently.
In this situation, government budget cannot be operated well, and pub-
lic policies for reducing inequality won't be able to be operated effec-
tively. It just makes severe political conflicts. Therefore, for preventing
deepening structural inequality and alleviating this, it should be sought
right and in‐depth public policies alternatives which are suitable for
national backgrounds and current situations rather than simply follow-
ing and adopting the policies of developed countries.
In conclusion, the book provides implications to our society where
countries are similar to the U.S. market economy and they are involv-
ing in it. Like South Korea, intensifying inequality could also happen to
them. Moreover, readers can find valuable meanings and insights in
the way that this book enables the reader to think about what inequal-
ity means specifically, how inequality can be measured, and the con-
text in which inequality appears in social science perspectives.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in
the public, commercial, or not‐for‐profit sectors.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST DECLARATION
This research has no conflict of interest to declare.
Intae Choi http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3349-804X
Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Intae Choi, Yonsei University, Yonhee Hall 302, 50, Yonsei‐ro, Seodaemun‐gu, Seoul
03722, Republic of Korea.
Received: 2 April 2018 Accepted: 3 April 2018
J Public Affairs. 2018;18:e1723.
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/pa 1of1