Discuss the role of politics and values in the study of inequality.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A critical component of this topic is the role of power.  The study of inequality, any study of the topic, should involve the analysis of power and how this plays a role in addressing the issue of inequality.  This could allow a very strong analysis of how politics and values converge in the study of inequality.  The idea of examining how institutional structures might prevent or enhance inequality has implications on political believes and shared values of any social setting.  At the same time, the distribution of power is something that is also analyzed and studied in the examination of inequality, which also includes politics and values.  How and what social services are provided and determined, how and what institutional systems do regarding inequality, and what practices continue or delineate inequality are all reflective of politics and values that are shared by both individuals and societies.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's impossible to study the question of inequality without bringing one's political ideals and moral values into play.  People are unable to look at the outside world except through (to some extent) the lens of their own ideas.

When you look at inequality, it is going to be your political values that tell you, first of all, if inequality is good (like the Davis-Moore thesis believes) or bad.  Secondly, when you study inequality, your own beliefs about what causes inequality will have an influence on what you conclude about inequality.

This shows one of the inherent problems with social sciences -- we study the world through our own eyes and that biases our results.