Discourse: The Great Inequality Debate

  • Sieglinde Lemke


Examining a broad spectrum of media articulations, Lemke charts America’s booming public debate on economic inequality from a cultural studies perspective. This survey examines viral videos, talk shows, op-eds, academic studies, and political cartoons that give voice to precarity and its discontents. Differentiating three stages in the genealogy of this debate (2000 –2015) Lemke inspects the main actors within the knowledge production on the Great Divergence. Narratives on gaping class divisions are compounded with the stalemate between the liberal and the conservative narrative of inequality. Lemke argues that political and economic polarization is often linked to a gender-based divide. Her analysis of the inequality and poverty discourse facilitates a better understanding of the growing class awareness and class anger driving the 2016 election.


Income Inequality Middle Class Great Recession Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Wealth Inequality 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sieglinde Lemke
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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