Inequality Awareness Week 30 May-2 June 2022


Please note that all times in the programme are local times in Finland (UTC+3)!

Monday, May 30

17:00–18:30 Keynote by Professor Vanessa Andreotti (University of British Columbia): Navigating the Complexities of Challenging Inequalities

Tuesday, May 31

10:0016:00 BIBU & INEQ Workshop with Professor Mike Savage (London School of Economics): Turbulent Times: The Political Consequences of Economic Transformations

Wednesday, June 1

10:00–11:30 INEQ Reading circle: Final meeting with Professor Mike Savage (LSE)

13:00–15:00 Panel discussion: Reducing Inequalities – What Is the Untapped Potential of Academic Research?

• Professor Mike Savage (LSE, UK)

• Senior Lecturer Monica Lambon-Quayefio (University of Ghana)

• Professor Mikael Holmqvist (Stockholm University, Sweden)

• INEQ Director Meri Kulmala (University of Helsinki, Finland)

• Associate Professor Lina Daouk-Öyry (American University of Beirut, Lebanon; Visiting Researcher at Aalto University)

• Research Fellow Fath E Mubeen (Migration Institute of Finland – Siirtolaisinstituutti)

• Executive Director Susanna Lehtovaara (Jade yhteisö ry)

• Video presentation by Professor Vanessa Andreotti (University of British Columbia, Canada)

Thursday, June 2

10:00–11:30 Keynote by Dr Monica Lambon-Quayefio (University of Ghana): Gender Inequality in the Global South: The Role of Social Institutions

13:00–18:00 PhD Researcher Workshop on Researching Inequalities, followed by an informal reception and music

Event descriptions

Monday, May 30

Keynote by Vanessa Andreotti (University of British Columbia): Navigating the Complexities of Challenging Inequalities

17:00–18:30, online via Zoom

We live in an age of increasing inequality. Social, ecological, epistemic, economic, and political inequalities, among others, challenge societies, institutions, communities, and individual people both locally and globally. Global tumultuous changes – the pandemic, anthropogenic climate change and the destruction of the planet, and incipient authoritarianism ­– deepen the inequalities. How should we think about inequalities in education in the light of these current challenges?

Welcome to participate in research seminar “Rethinking inequalities in education”. The seminar will bring together timely approaches on inequalities in education. The seminar will start with a keynote by Professor Vanessa Andreotti (University of British Columbia, Canada) entitled 'Navigating the Complexities of Challenging Inequalities'. This talk will explore some of the complexities and paradoxes of challenging historical and systemic ongoing inequalities in contexts characterized by VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), unsustainability and unequal North-South relations. It will draw on insights from a research collaboration between the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures Arts/Research collective (GTDF) and the Federation of the Huni Kui Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon. The talk will include a video from Chief Ninawa Huni Kui offering an Indigenous perspective on our current global collective predicament.

The second part of the seminar provides PhD students, MA students and researchers interested in inequalities with educational relevance to talk about their on-going work.

Timetable on Monday 30 May (NB! These are local times in Finland):

17:00 Opening of the seminar and welcome

17:05 Keynote by Vanessa Andreotti (UBC)

17:45 Q&A and discussion

You are welcome to participate in the keynote talk without presenting a paper in the seminar. Please register for the event via E-form by May 29. Registration is mandatory and the Zoom link will be sent only to registered participants.

The seminar is jointly organized by INEQ, AGORA for the Study of Social Justice and Equality Research Centre, and international student association One Step Ahead (OSA). The seminar is part of the INEQ Inequality Awareness Week that brings together key scholars in the multidisciplinary area of inequalities to discuss on the societal relevance of inequality research.

Professor Vanessa Andreotti holds a Canada Research Chair in Race, Inequalities and Global Change at UBC. Her research examines historical and systemic patterns of reproduction of inequalities and how these limit or enable possibilities for collective existence and global change. Her publications in this field include analyses of political economies of knowledge production, discussions of the ethics of international development, and critical comparisons of ideals of globalism and internationalization in education and in global activism, with an emphasis on representations of and relationships with marginalized communities. Andreotti's work in teacher education conceptualizes education as an expansion of frames of reference and of fields of signification with a view to expanding possibilities for ethical solidarities. Her academic work is committed to protecting the public role of the university as critic and conscience of society and as a space of independent, multi-voiced, critically informed and socially accountable debates about alternative futures.

Tuesday, May 31

BIBU & INEQ Workshop: Turbulent Times: The Political Consequences of Economic Transformations

10:00–16:00, Festsal, Swedish School of Social Science (Snellmaninkatu 12)

Current democracies have appeared to become increasingly hard to govern as political life has become turbulent and radicalism has been on the rise. This paper workshop will explore the roots and dynamics of the ongoing political turbulence by exploring the links between politics and economic transformations.  

The one-day workshop is organised by the research project Tackling Biases and Bubbles in Participation (BIBU) in collaboration with INEQ. Professor Mike Savage from the London School of Economics (LSE) will join us to discuss and elaborate on the papers.

Workshop theme

The ongoing economic transformations—globalisation, technological advances, job polarization and creative destruction— widen societal divisions as inequalities between socioeconomic groups, urban and rural areas and areas within cities are on the rise. In particular, the wealthiest groups have gained wealth and aspiring middle-class professionals continue to enjoy new opportunities. At the same time, middle classes face insecurity and the risk of downward mobility as occupations divide into high- and low-skilled job categories. Additionally, conflicts between the “insiders” and the “outsiders” (i.e., between the wage earners with protected jobs and those who are unemployed, work in the platform economy, or hold temporary jobs with few employment rights) are aggravating. The decreasing labour costs raise fears of a new underclass emerging as growing numbers of individuals occupy precarious employment positions, suffer isolation, are stigmatised as unemployed or encounter racism. Subsequently, societies appear as politically turbulent and hard to govern, and political radicalism is on the rise. In addition, the links between societal elites and citizens are weakened: political leaders cannot rely on relatively stable social classes, and voters act in increasingly volatile ways.  

These changes call for studies that will cross the disciplinary borders and track the ways in which these ongoing economic transformations are reflected in social and political life including identities, political views and emotions. Oftentimes, this calls for crossover studies that will draw from different disciplines, such as economics, political science, sociology, social psychology, psychology, communication studies and others.


Welcoming Words: Professor Anu Kantola

10:15–11:45 Paper Session 1 

Elites in the Economic Field of Power in the United Kingdom

by Marta Pagnini*, Victoria Gronwald*, Paul Lagneau-Ymonet** and Mike Savage*

*London School of Economics (LSE), United Kingdom

**Dauphine, PSL, IRISSO

Stratification in a Neoliberal Society: The Making of Elites and Occupationally Disabled in Contemporary Sweden

by Mikael Holmqvist

Stockholm University, Sweden

11:45–13:00 Lunch Break

13:00–14:15 Paper Session 2 

The Great Squeeze: Political Emotions in Economic Transformations

by Anu Kantola

Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, Finland

“Some are in breadlines and some earn tens of millions so yes, there is something amiss” - Perceptions of Inequality in the Finnish Paper Mill Industry

by Sanna Aaltonen

University of Eastern Finland

14:15–14:30 Coffee Break

14:30–16:00 Paper Session 2 Continued

Flexible selves surfing through difficulties: How restaurant workers learn to become respectable in the hyperflexible service sector

by Lotta Junnilainen & Lotta Haikkola

Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki & Finnish Youth Research Network, Finland

Towards a real Green Transition? Triple constraints holding back EU member states’ “greening” industrial strategies.

by Zhen Im*  **, Caroline De La Porte*, Elke Heins***, Andrea Prontera**** & Dorota Szelewa*****

*Department of International Economics, Government and Business, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

**Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, Finland

***University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

****University of Marcerata, Italy

*****University College Dublin, Ireland


We also welcome participants in the workshop without presenting a paper. Please enrol via E-form by May 31.

Wednesday, June 1

INEQ reading circle: Final meeting with Professor Mike Savage

10:00–11:30, INEQ offices (Vuorikatu 3, room 209) and online


INEQ Panel discussion: Reducing Inequalities – What is the Untapped Potential of Academic Research? 

13:00–15:00, Think Corner Stage & streamed online (link to stream)

We live in an age of increasing inequality. While globally, we have seen a reduction in the number of people living in extreme poverty, this does not mean that wealth distribution has become more equal. Today, 45,8% of global wealth is owned by the richest 1%, yet the poorest 55% collectively own just 1,3% of global wealth (Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook, 2021). The Covid-19 pandemic and the current war in Ukraine, for example, have sharpened/consolidated existing structural inequalities. We can see that inequalities, far from disappearing, remain a key challenge across the globe.  

This growing inequality has been of great interest to an expanding community of academics who have come together to form a vibrant interdisciplinary research community known as “Inequality Studies.” Collectively, Inequality Studies have emphasized a variety of inequalities from the classical cleavage between global north and south to the ways in which multiple forms of inequality (i.e., economic, environmental, health, social, etc.) intersect with, for example, gender, race, and social class.

While this academic research is important, it has not always been influential in combatting inequalities arising at both local and global scales. There appears to be a gap between academia and real-world attempts to tackle these problems. How can we make use of academic research as we work to fight lived inequalities? What are the possibilities for collaboration?

This panel discussion brings together a group of experienced researchers in the burgeoning multidisciplinary field of Inequality Studies. Our panellists include:

Join us as we look at ways of tapping the potential of academic research! Whether you are in academia, working at an NGO/in government, in organisations funding academic research, or seeking a way to reduce inequality through personal or professional pursuits, we have you in mind as we focus on question such as:

  • “As a researcher, how can I make my research matter to the real world?”
  • “As a practitioner, how can I connect better with research? How can I collaborate with academia?”
  • “As a citizen, how can I be an engaged citizen? How can I influence research that concerns me?”
  • How can we together increase the societal impact of inequality research? What is the potential of collaboration with citizens, NGOs, policy makers, professionals, and academics from other disciplines?

The panel is moderated by Emma Jelley.

There will be time for socializing and networking with small bites and bubbles after the panel. For this purpose we kindly invite you to register if you are planning to attend the panel on-site in Think Corner.

Please register for the panel discussion event in Think Corner via E-form by May 31.

The panel will also be streamed online.

Thursday, June 2

Keynote by Monica Lambon-Quayefio: Gender Inequality in the Global South: The Role of Social Institutions

10:00–11:30, Porthania P674 and online

Since 2015, global progress made in bridging gender gaps in both economic and social dimensions of women’s lives has been marginal. Recent gender gap indexes show that sub-Sahara Africa, South Asia, Middle East, and North Africa continue to lag behind the rest of the world in achieving gender parity. It has become clear that rising per capita income does not necessarily eradicate all forms of inequality. Social institutions and norms, described as social principles that govern the behaviour of a society also wield an important influence on various dimensions of women’s economic and social lives and have the potential to perpetuate existing gender gaps in areas such as education, employment, and other autonomy indicators. This talk aims to highlight specific discriminatory social norms and practices, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and how they have impacted gender inequality. Gleaning from recent empirical research, the talk highlights policies, programs, and interventions that are currently being employed and have shown some promise in various countries in the Global South to minimize the gender gaps in these contexts. The address emphasis on the need for a more holistic approach-which combines improvement in economic growth and changes in harmful social practices in tackling the issues of gender inequality in the sub-region.

Dr Monica Lambon-Quayefio is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Ghana, Legon and a Researcher at the Africa Centre of Excellence in Inequality Research (ACEIR). Her broad research interests are demographic and health economics with a particular focus on human capital development pertaining to maternal and child health, as well as education and labour market outcomes in developing country contexts. She has experience in analysing cross-sectional and longitudinal data, including large-scale national household surveys such as the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Surveys using both applied econometric and spatial econometric techniques. Her recent research projects have examined the relationship between child labour and intergenerational poverty, structural transformation and inequality and inclusive growth, as well as the inequality of opportunities and education outcomes. Her research has been published in development and health economics-related journals, including Oxford Development Studies and Applied Health and Health Policy.

Commentator: Dr Milla Nyyssölä, Research Associate at The United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and Chief Researcher at Labore

Moderator: INEQ Director Meri Kulmala.

Please register for the event via E-form by June 1. Registration is mandatory. Further information on attending the event and the Zoom link will be sent only to registered participants.

The talk is also part of INEQ's Inequality Talks, an ongoing series of online lectures addressing a wide range of issues related to inequality.


PhD Researcher Workshop on Researching Inequalities

13:00–18:00, Festsal & room 209, Swedish School of Social Science (Snellmaninkatu 12)

NB! This event is meant only for selected PhD researchers and invited commentators.

Inequalities seem to impact every facet of our lives, from more mundane and localised issues (i.e., migration related challenges, matters relating to educations, social welfare problems faced by multiple groups in structurally vulnerable positions) to the most pressing issues on a global scale (i.e., anthropogenic climate change, elites possessing most of the global wealth, etc.). As such, the focus on this vast array of social, economic and environmental inequalities is shaping the current gaze of social sciences and humanities today.

INEQ, together with the Swedish School of Social Science (SOCKOM), and the Welfare, Values and Interventions Network will hold an interdisciplinary workshop for doctoral researchers whose work tackles the challenge of inequalities in different ways. This workshop is intended for those currently engaged in their doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki (and other Finnish universities if there is space) whose research broadly addresses inequalities.

The workshop will give 17 budding inequality studies researchers the opportunity to present their ongoing work. The participants will briefly present their papers (a 5- to 10-minute presentation) at the workshop event. This will be followed by audience questions and expert feedback by two scholars specialised in the given topic.

Professor Mike Savage (LSE) and Dr Monica Lambon-Quayefio (University of Ghana) will be present at INEQ’s Inequality Week events and will participate in this workshop. 

The workshop is followed by an informal reception and music at SOCKOM.