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Social polarisation at the local level: a four-town comparative study on the challenges of politicising inequality in Britain

Koch, Insa, Fransham, Mark, Cant, Sarah, Ebrey, Jill, Glucksberg, Luna and Savage, Mike ORCID: 0000-0003-4563-9564 (2021) Social polarisation at the local level: a four-town comparative study on the challenges of politicising inequality in Britain. Sociology, 55 (1). 3 - 29. ISSN 0038-0385

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0038038520975593

Abstract

This article examines how intensifying inequality in the UK plays out at a local level, in order to bring out the varied ways polarisation takes place ‘on the ground’. It brings a community analysis buttressed by quantitative framing to the study of economic, spatial and relational polarisation in four towns in the UK. We distinguish differing dynamics of ‘elite-based’ polarisation (in Oxford and Tunbridge Wells) and ‘poverty-based’ polarisation (in Margate and Oldham). Yet there are also common features. Across the towns, marginalised communities express a sense of local belonging. But tensions between social groups also remain strong and all towns are marked by a weak or ‘squeezed middle’. We argue that the weakness of intermediary institutions, including but not limited to the ‘missing middle’, and capable of bridging gaps between various social groups, provides a major insight into both the obstacles to, and potential solutions for, re-politicising inequality today.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/soc
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: Law
International Inequalities Institute
Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2020 15:48
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 04:10
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/107016

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