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Understanding Inequalities International Conference 2020

The Understanding Inequalities Conference 2020 has been cancelled

Please note that we have taken this decision in light of the uncertainty caused by Coronavirus. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.  

As an alternative, we are developing a webinar series and are pleased to announce that the ui2020 keynote speakers have confirmed their involvement in the series.

Key aim

The Understanding Inequalities (UI) research project is delighted to invite anyone working in the field of inequalities to participate in our international conference on 9th and 10th of June 2020 in Edinburgh. The conference offers a forum for researchers, policymakers and practitioners to discuss and debate contemporary issues about the nature, origins and impacts of inequality that arise in a variety of interconnected policy contexts.
A key aim of this conference is to take a multi-disciplinary approach to understand the direct and indirect causes and consequences of inequality, how it manifests in different ways across different social groups and a range of spatial levels. 

Conference themes

The conference will address two important contemporary themes, and abstracts are invited under each of these themes:

Theme 1: Spatial Inequalities and Contextual Effects
Inequalities manifest and persist in space. In turn, the environment in which an individual lives, works, and spends their leisure time can have a causal effect on their later life outcomes. We encourage the submission of papers that seek to explore the concentration, duration and drivers of spatial inequalities and papers investigating any aspect of the contextual or neighbourhood effect. Specifically, we welcome papers that endeavour to offer novel theoretical insight, methodological advances and empirical delineation across multiple dimensions of inequality. Papers may seek to explore the spatial and temporal scales at and over which inequalities most clearly manifest, the multi-scalar causal processes that shape spatial inequalities, innovative ways of disentangling the complexities of contextual and individual effects, as well as the design and delivery of strategies capable of ameliorating spatial inequalities and context effects.
Theme 2: Inequalities over the life course

A growing number of studies show that early inequalities and disadvantage (across a range of social and economic dimensions) can have a profound impact on developmental and behavioural outcomes.  Often, these impacts begin in childhood, continue and exacerbate in adolescence, and last long into adulthood.  Longitudinal studies, in particular, have enabled researchers to disentangle and test the cumulative impact of specific social, economic, environmental and structural factors in early childhood on outcomes over the life-course. We encourage papers that examine the long-term effects of inequalities experienced in childhood and adolescence, or how drivers and experience in childhood impact on inequality in longer term outcomes. Such outcomes may include (but are not limited to) educational transitions and attainment, success or failure in the labour market, criminal and anti-social behaviour, contact with the adult criminal justice system, physical or mental health status, general life success and wellbeing. We particularly welcome papers that cover multiple dimensions of inequality, and which provide new evidence on the relative importance of different factors, which may operate at different levels and within different national contexts, or analyse the reproduction of inequalities at different stages of the life-course.

We encourage abstracts from academics and non-academics working in any disciplinary or policy area that relates to inequalities.  We are particularly interested in papers or posters that will explore new theoretical insights into inequality or advance innovative methodological approaches to its study.  We will also have a strong focus on the policy and practice impacts of this research, and encourage all contributors to consider how their research might make a difference in terms of tackling inequality. 

Keynote speakers and sessions

The conference plenary sessions will involve some of the most prominent international experts in the field of inequalities research.  Confirmed speakers and plenary sessions include:

Professor Ingrid Schoon, Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at University College London and Professor Cristina Iannelli, Professor of Education and Social Stratification in the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh discussing Resilience among children and young people from low socio-economic backgrounds

Professor Susan McVie, Director of Understanding Inequalities at the University of Edinburgh and Professor Jon Bannister, Director of the Crime and Well-being Big Data Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University discussing Understanding and tackling persistent crime and justice inequalities

Professor Emer Smyth, Head of the Social Research Division at the Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin and Mike Savage, Martin White Professor of Sociology at London School of Economics discussing The different dimensions of social inequality: understanding and measuring inequality across the life-course.

Patrick Sharkey,  Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Professor Gwilym Pryce, Professor of Urban Economics and Social Statistics at the University of Sheffield discussing Spatial boundaries and spatial connections:  Unravelling the interwoven dimensions of geographic inequality.

Read more about each of our keynote speakers here.

Key information

The conference will take place at the John McIntyre Conference Centre at the University of Edinburgh on 13-14th October 2020.

Registration for the conference will be available shortly and the early bird rate will be £135 for the full two days conference.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about this event, please contact the Understanding Inequalities team via uiconference@ed.ac.uk

Image copyright: University of Edinburgh/Paul Dodds

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 06:00 to Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 13:30