Fractured Identities

Fractured Identities : Changing Patterns of Inequality

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The gap between rich and poor, included and excluded, advantaged and disadvantaged is steadily growing as inequality becomes one of the most pressing issues of our times. The new edition of this popular text explores current patterns of inequality in the context of increasing globalization, world recession and neoliberal policies of austerity. Within a framework of intersectionality, Bradley discusses various theories and concepts for understanding inequalities of class, gender, ethnicity and age, while an entirely new chapter touches on the social divisions arising from disabilities, non-heterosexual orientations and religious affiliation.

Bradley argues that processes of fracturing, which complicate the way we as individuals identify and locate ourselves in relation to the rest of society, exist alongside a tendency to social polarization: at one end of the social hierarchy are the super-rich; at the other end, long-term unemployment and job insecurity are the fate of many, especially the young. In the reordering of the social hierarchy, members of certain ethnic minority groups, disabled people and particular segments of the working class suffer disproportionately, while prevailing economic conditions threaten to offset the gains made by women in past decades.
Fractured Identities shows how only by understanding and challenging these developments can we hope to build a fairer and more socially inclusive society.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 153 x 227 x 27mm | 534g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2nd Edition
  • 0745644082
  • 9780745644080
  • 998,097

Back cover copy

Despite claims about the "classless society," modern industrial societies such as Britain and America are characterized by widening gaps between rich and poor. At the same time, inequalities of class overlap with other inequalities, such as those of ethnicity or gender.

Recent research in sociology has highlighted the growing complexity of patterns of stratification and the interplay between different aspects of inequality. This book offers a comprehensive introduction to past and current theories of stratification and inequality. It pulls together work in the areas of class, gender, race and age, locating the analysis within current debates over modernity and post-modernity.

Separate chapters on class, gender, race and age provide overviews of debates in a way designed to be accessible to students and also how these four dimensions of inequality act upon one another. Unlike many other texts, the book covers both the modernist approaches derived from the sociological classics and newer contributions influenced by post-modernism and post-structuralism.

While accepting the postmodern view that societies are becoming fragmented and social identities more fluid, "Fractured Identities" concludes that modernist insights are still vital. Modern societies are marked by "both" fragmentation and polarization.
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Table of contents


Introduction to Second edition

1 Introductory: Inequality and Identity

2 Inequality, Fragmentation and Identity

3 Capitalism, Modernity and Global Change

4 The Death and Rebirth of Class

5 Gender: Rethinking Patriarchy

6 `Race' and Ethnicity: `Travelling in the West'

7 Age: Generations and Gaps

8 Emergent Identities and Inequalities: Disability, Sexual Orientation and Religious Affiliation

9 Conclusion: Fractured Identities: Processes of Fragmentation and Polarization in Globalizing Capitalist Societies

Bibliography and Sources

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Review quote

"Bradley successfully combines political critique and trenchant scholarship in this up-to-the minute revision of her now classic text. Her focus is firmly on increasing inequality and polarization, in all their dimensions, in the context of globalization and the entrenchment of austerity and individualism. Her arguments are accessible, engaging and convincing. The book makes an important contribution to the resurgence of class analysis, and will be widely read." Miriam Glucksmann, University of Essex "Harriet Bradley s new edition of Fractured Identities synthesises the changes consequent upon globalisation, the War on Terror, and changing demographics since the first edition with her clear and coherent account of the classic sociological work. Any student using the book will be extremely fortunate: it is innovative, current, and classic." Sara Delamont, Cardiff University
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About Harriet Bradley

Harriet Bradley is Professor of Women's Employment at the University of the West of England and Professor Emerita of Sociology at the University of Bristol.
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