In_equality Conference, Konstanz, 2022

Concerns about growing inequalities play a fundamental role in current debates on technological change, globalization and in particular the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. When and how are inequalities perceived as a problem, and what can governments do to alleviate them? How do perceptions of inequality influence patterns of political participation? To what extent are structural inequalities shaped by policies?

The Cluster of Excellence “The Politics of Inequality” aims to tackle these and similar questions concerning the political dimension of inequality in an international and interdisciplinary conference taking place in Konstanz, Germany, in the spring of 2022. We invite contributions from scholars with a background in political science, sociology, economics, linguistics, education research, psychology and law who investigate the politics of inequality using different methodological approaches. We ask for submissions by researchers at all career levels and welcome early career researchers’ contributions.


  • Conference with personal attendance (select formats will be livestreamed)
  • Talks in multiple moderated panels
  • Public Talk by Steffen Mau (Humboldt University Berlin)
  • Keynotes by Catherine de Vries (Bocconi University), Stefanie Stantcheva (Harvard University) and Jason Stanley (Yale University)
  • Conference language: English

We welcome submissions and original research contributions on several fields of study, investigating questions such as (but not limited to) the following:

Perceptions. Analysis of stances, perceptions and preferences:

  • How are different dimensions of structural inequalities related to subjective perceptions and evaluations of inequality? To what extent do they influence preferences regarding policy responses to inequality?
  • How do welfare and socio-economic institutions influence the relationship between the macro level of policy making and the micro level of individuals’ attitudes and preferences?
  • Are subjective perceptions of inequality in line with factual inequalities – and if not, what are the factors that influence skewed perceptions?
  • What is the role of language and politically motivated framing in the perception of inequalities, and of policies regarding them?

Participation. Analysis of political behavior and mobilization:

  • What are the context conditions that mobilize (or demobilize) those who are socio-economically left behind?
  • To what extent do political institutions and opportunity structures influence political reactions related to inequality?
  • What is the relation between inequality and changing patterns in political participation, such as the emergence populism, changing party politics and the rise of new social movements?
  • Does socio-economic inequality increase political inequality, and (how) can political mobilization contribute to a decrease in inequality?

Policies. Analysis of political decision-making and policy reactions:

  • What are the political reactions to increasing increasing (or decreasing) inequality?
  • Are policy-makers broadly responsive to public demands and concerns or do we observe inequality in responsiveness of policy-making to the benefit of privileged groups?
  • How do policies affect structural inequalities across a range of policy areas, from education to family, to the labor market, to health care policies?

Cross-cutting issues:

  • How is economic inequality perceived, framed and debated in political and public discourses, and what aspects are paramount when talking about wealth and income inequality?
  • In what ways does unequal access to education and information make itself felt in political mobilization and participation?
  • What influence does inequality in rights and privileges such as limited access to public office for certain groups have on policies, and how do policy-makers address these inequalities?

Applications are open 01 October – 30 November 2021.

Applications via the online application form on the conference website must include an extended abstract (max. 400 words).

Travel and accommodation costs for one presenter per accepted presentation will be covered.

In case of any questions, please write an e-mail to the organizing team.

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