The POLINE network has been launched in order to lead Sciences Po Research project on « Inequalities and Democracy ». This international network gathers more than thirty researchers belonging to over six departments at Sciences Po which used to work separately on various aspects of inequalities. The « politics of inequalities » is a topical and strategic issue. No program of the kind exists in France, and the French case is particularly interesting as it is so different from the US, combining a rather stable structure of inequalities with a strong and rising feeling of injustice, and an ideologically tinted debate. Sciences Po appears as the most qualified institution to launch such a program.
The program addresses six questions:
- How can one conceptualise inequalities today, in reference with the notions of justice, equity, fairness, and public interest?
- How can one measure their level and their dynamics, elaborate reliable indicators?
- How are inequalities perceived, evaluated, accepted or resented?
- What are their causes, where do they originate, how are they shaped by family, class, institutions (school, welfare systems), gender, age, ethnicity, residence?
- How do they translate politically, become or not a political issue? Do they lead to political apathy, to the self exclusion of the have not, or do they lead to protest and revolt? Do they incline to support and vote for left and extreme left parties, or for the right and extreme right ones?
- What are the public policies elaborated to reduce inequalities, what priorities are set, what line of action? In a country like France in particular, attached to the «republican model », to what extent are « affirmative action » policies (education, employment) developing, and how is the welfare system changing?
Poline is part of the Research eight priorities for the year 2008-2012. More information.