Reader advisory: When I say “in one chart,” I never really mean it.
Updated with new chart at the end.
Because someone asked, here is the article count from Web of Science (an academic journal database with emphasis on science), showing the frequency of articles (of all types) according to the inequality-related phrases in their titles. This is obviously not an exhaustive list of work on these subjects, but I did want to show all combinations of race, class, and gender (click to enlarge).
- “Social inequality” now completely dominates, but it once was second to “social stratification.”
- The most common of the three-word combinations is “race, class, and gender.”
- “Gender, race, and class” has almost always been second.
- “Gender, class, and race” made a run in the late 1990s, but has since faded.
I’ve written a little more about language and intersectional concerns here.
Don Tomaskovic-Devey sent along this figure, which shows newspaper articles using inequality related terms. The dotted line shows articles with rich, wealthy, top 1%, top one %, while the solid line shows income inequality. He suggests the dotted line may reflect an Occupy Wall Street effect, while the solid line shows the Thomas Piketty framing process:
3 thoughts on “How (and how much) academics talk about inequality, in one chart”
In the public sphere (as reflected in Google nGrams), “class” talk peaked around 1970. The decline in “income” talk was not as drastic. As of 2008, the frequency of (“lower income + low income) was more than double that of lower class. Inequality has continued to rise. In sociology too, there’s not a lot of agreement as to what a class is, but with inequality — of income and wealth, of health, of education, etc. — there’s not much argument over what it is.
Thanks. (I tried to do an ngrams version of this but couldn’t do it because commas always come in the strings and removing the commas produced no results.)