The power of representation. Common sense concerning social inequality
Against the background of an ever increasing number of studies of social inequality presented by the ’sociology of inequality´ Barlösius discusses the question of ’representation´ of such inequalities: She acknowledges that such studies generate pictures of social structure, categories and classifications for various phenomena of inequality, methodological and theoretical foundations for social statistics documentation of social conditions. But now she introduces ’representation´: are the above-mentioned studies merely mirroring conditions of inequality, are they ’discursive constructions´ or do they follow their own ’rules´? She considers representation (as has been done in anthropology) to be a powerful tool, especially in asymmetrical, i.e. unequal settings: representations contribute to establish common sense or legitimate and illegitimate forms of social inequality. She covers the topics of ’representation from a sociological point of view´, praxis of representation, images of society, then four forms of representation: categories and classifications, statistics, public reports, and finally rules of representing social inequality.
Keywords: representation and inequality, inequality and representation, power and representation, asymmetrical relations, statistics, classifications