Confronting Equality, Gender, Knowledge and Global Change Raewyn Connell, Polity Books, 19.20 €

Confronting EqualityWant to have a vastly different perspective on the meaning of social justice? Raewyn Connell’s new book gathers her more recent work and analyzes how the market, global power systems, and new knowledge have shaped social (in)equality. Connell, Professor at the University of Sydney, is well known for her research in sociology and her work on the social construction of masculinity. Despite her obvious passion for the topic, she carefully bases her argument on a blend of empirical studies, theories, and historical analysis. You may not agree with Connell’s profound critique of neoliberalism, which according to her is responsible for the inequalities of our time, but this book will at the very least provoke you to rethink and reanalyze the current system. For instance, the long dominance of Western power over knowledge production has perpetuated unequal, gendered, biased and harmful narratives in the rest of the world. Because research institutes in the global South are usually funded by the West they are predisposed in their theoretical and methodological applications. This results in the production of biased knowledge that is often irrelevant to the region, and overrides local and indigenous information. Even though she paints a bleak picture of our world Connell is not apocalyptic; she believes that we can still change the course of history. The possibility garnered by new technology for the “decentralized sharing of ideas”, “plural cultures and multiple knowledge systems” is, according to Connell, essential for forming social equality and a sustainable world system. This volume is a valiant and a much needed call for action.