Untangling Economic and Political Inequality: the Case of South Africa

Gaventa, J. and Runciman, C.
Book Chapter
Publisher UNESCO
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(2016) 'Challenging Inequalities: Pathways to a Just World. World Social Science Report 2016'

Understanding the inter-relationships between political and other forms of inequality is a critical challenge for social scientists, policy-makers and activists alike. For those concerned with building and deepening democracy, a fundamental premise is that while broad social and economic inequalities may exist in society, they will be countered by the relative equality of all citizens to exercise voice in the future of their own affairs.

From a rights perspective, the provision and protection of equal political rights is seen as a pre-requisite to the realisation of other socio-economic rights. And from a development perspective, the recently approved Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 on reducing inequality includes the objectives of achieving political inclusion and voice within and between countries, as well as those that speak to countering economic and social inequality alone.

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John Gaventa

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