Universität Wien FIND

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to courses and exams may be necessary at short notice. Inform yourself about the current status on u:find and check your e-mails regularly.

Please read the information on https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

Warning! The directory is not yet complete and will be amended until the beginning of the term.

240518 SE (In)equality: A critical investigation (P4) (2021W)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Update 12.01.2022: Due to the current situation the course will be held digital until the end of the semester.
Update 13.12.2021: The course will be held digital until December 17.
Update 22.11.2021: The course will be held digital during lockdown.
If possible, the course is to be conducted in presence. Due to the respective applicable distance regulations and other measures, adjustments may be made.

Tuesday 05.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 12.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 19.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 09.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 16.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 23.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 30.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 07.12. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 14.12. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 11.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 18.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 25.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Scholarship on, and public concerns about, socioeconomic inequality have witnessed a boost since the 2007/2008 financial crisis – and with the COVID-19 pandemic now further intensifying debates to address inequality. In this course, we will look at several themes within the existing scholarship and public debates, including (political) anthropology’s earlier interest with egalitarian societies and the alleged origins of inequality. We will discuss and analyse what consequences unequal societies may have, what the contemporary and historical causes and drivers of inequality are, but particularly also what the (current) proposals to reverse inequality are and what possible hurdles these proposals/solutions may face.

Course aims:
1) To comprehend the (alleged) societal consequences of (growing) socioeconomic inequality.
2) To better understand (capitalist) causes, drivers, and patterns of socioeconomic inequality.
3) To gain an understanding of the various proposals/solutions to reverse inequality and what their (lack of) potential for implementation is – and why.
4) To learn what an anthropological perspective may contribute to a better understanding of the realities, patterns, ambiguities, and paradoxes of socioeconomic inequality.

We will start the course with discussing the societal consequences of socioeconomic inequality. Following from that, we will discuss scholarship on the causes and drivers of inequality. We will explore to what extent new insights resonate with and/or differ from a long history of (explicit and implicit) research on socioeconomic inequality. Subsequently, we will move on to discuss various contemporary and historical solutions that have been proposed to reverse and/or mitigate inequality. Of particular interest is to critically assess the potential of these solutions and to what extent the rich, yet ambiguously at times also the non-rich, may succeed in preventing these proposals from becoming reality. Together, this will allow us not only to better understand the causes and consequences of socioeconomic inequality, but especially also what the chances are to structurally reverse current levels of inequality.

Reading literature, presentations, discussions, and individual papers.

Assessment and permitted materials

1) Each student, or small group of students, will find accompanying examples (from the media, literature, scholarship, etc.) related to the theme of a respective session. They will reflect upon their examples/material in relation to the session’s assigned readings and design several questions the group can discuss. This assignment will count towards 40 points of the final mark.
2) Each student will briefly reflect upon their fellow students' presentations of examples – and related discussion – and submit their reflections two days after each respective presentation/session. This assignment will count towards 20 points of the final mark.
3) Each student will write an individual paper of 3,500 to 5,000 words in which they will reflect upon a theme related to the course material (with the help of a proper research question), to be handed in at the end of the course. This will count towards 40 points of the final mark.

NB. Please note, all written assignments will be checked with anti-plagiarism software.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

1) Presence and active participation in the seminar.
2) With prior notification and a valid reason, an absence of a maximum two session, i.e. approximately 20% of the total hours, will be allowed.
3) All assignments have to be completed.
4) In the case of group assignments, each student should have an active and fair contribution to the assignment (all students involved in a particular group have to be present during their presentation/assignment; hence, they cannot request absence apart from for very important reasons).

Examination topics

Reading list

Various articles and chapters.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: We 12.01.2022 09:09