Academic Master


Discussion about Global Inequalities

Question: Using examples from current news and media representations compare Bauman’s and Sassen’s ideas about the nature of global inequalities. How can these ideas help you understand the world today?

Urban-centered societies concerning the influence of the hegemony created by religious and military groups have always encompassed social inequality and injustice over the rest of the global population. In the contemporary world, societies under the influence of capitalism, feudalism, religious hegemony, and mercantilism are marked by spatial patterns of social differentiation such as distinctions of ethnicity or wealth among the different class systems. To address the west’s obsession with spatial class structures and individualism in the name of globalization in the modern world, I have taken two writings by Bauman and an article and a book by Sassen to argue the increasingly visible global inequalities bottom class experience in a collective modern world. This essay compares the political sociology of two prominent thinkers, Saskia Sassen and Zygmunt Bauman on the debate on global inequalities that generate the differential distribution of wealth in the economy and forced expulsions and evictions of the people around the globe.

Discussion of Global Inequalities in Sassen’s Expulsions

Saskia Sassen in chapter 1 of her book “Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy” proclaims the major argument regarding global inequalities that the changes the world has seen over the past 40 years are different and devastative forms of the economic system in the world we are living today. Sassen’s concept of societal polarization addresses the intensification of the enhancement and creation of the under and bottom class that gives rise to the inequalities around the globe. (Sassen, 2018) In the contemporary world, the population experiences “expulsion” through which the poor get poorer and the rich get richer day by day. Sassen’s use of the term “expulsion” for the modern world reflects the filtering out of complex realities from the new dynamics of the world. These growing inequalities result in a systemic change by giving the rise to the rich and on the other hand worsening the economic conditions of the poor class such as poverty, social inequality, economical deterioration, etc. (Sassen, 2018) Such actions result in “expulsions” as Sassen argues that exposes a system with devastating consequences such as soaring unemployment, imprisoned and displaced populations, poverty, and injustice even for the members of the community that are vulnerable.

Liquid Times– Bauman’s Ideas about Global Inequality

Zygmunt Bauman, one of the world’s leading sociologists, argues in his book Liquid Times about the negative consequences of globalization in the contemporary world and how the poor class suffers from the increasingly visible injustice and inequalities around the globe. In Liquid Times, Bauman sheds light on the ultimate negative consequences of globalization on the local communities that Capital owners shift their preferences and power without considering international laws about investments and commitments. He argues that owners of the Capital move freely to invest in the opportunities to maximize their profits but subsequently “doom” the local members of the community as they experience the negative consequences of ‘globalization’ that result in suspicion and anxiety. (Bauman, 2017) Resultantly, the bottom class of the globe counters the dangerous, unstable, risky, unpredictable, and unjust world elite or owners of the Capital leave in their wake while mobilizing globally. The majority of the “doomed” class chooses to escape the world no longer worthy to live in whereas few of the poor class people “turn away” from war-torn countries in order to root and seek their identities in the form of “refugees” in the world elite has left behind. (Bauman, 2017)

In the book, Bauman points out that “when the elite of the world pursues their goals, the poor class of the world pays the price.” This argument proclaims the unstable and inequitable conditions caused by global capitalism. These conditions lead to religious fanaticism, terrorism, and organized crimes such as drug trafficking, violence, bandit gangs, etc (Bauman, 2017). Bauman focuses on refugees by providing an insight into how they are outside of the law because they do not own their state and the new state they take refuge in does not own them as well. Besides, they are no more part of the country or state they have fled to seek their individual identity. In terms of today’s world, refugees from Palestine, Indian Occupied Kashmir, Ukraine, Jerusalem, and many other war-torn countries have lived in “temporary” refugee camps in the west have no formal existence in the world. (Bauman, 2017) This raises the sense of inequality in people experiencing the current situation that what Bauman recalls as the “nowhere land of non-humanity” due to the exploitation refugees witness in whatever map of the regions they flee to.

Migration is an Expulsion- Saskia Sassen

Building on Sassen’s ideas about global inequalities, the ideas of soaring unemployment, displaced populations, income inequality, imprisoned societies, accelerating injustice, and poverty around the globe can be accurately understood as “expulsion.” The socioeconomic dislocations from personal livelihood and professional living space further produce brutalities. In this regard, Sassen argues that migration in the name of pushing people out of their living space into other lands ultimately to the havoc of poverty is nothing but another type of expulsion. The scale of land acquisition for the sake of biofuel and minerals extraction, livestock, tourism, forestry, and food crops by the local or foreign governments has caused the major expulsion of resident people. (Sassen, 2013) For instance, when land in Congo and Zambia is acquired by the foreign governments to extract biofuel, minerals, a food staple, metals, and water, it has caused the resident community to wind up with toxic water, atmosphere, and land. Through diverse strategies, people are pushed towards enforced migration which causes people to be expulsed off their lands. The expulsion from the land is also another type of brutality and inequality as Sassen argues and therefore rebranded as ‘migration’ that obscures the rights of the common people contributing to social differentiation and expulsions. (Sassen, 2013)

Bauman’s Strangers at Door- Deconstructing Inequalities around the Globe

Zygmunt’s Strangers at Our Door deconstructs the inequitable and unstable conditions refugees around the world witnessed as “uninvited guests” or “strangers” from the violence and brutality of the wars. (Bauman, 2016) He argues that for the people behind their doors listening to the knocks of these “uninvited guests” refugees always come with fear, suspicion, and anxiety because they are unknown. In the contemporary world, news about refugees is filled with anxious debates on the account of the “migration crisis. Building on present-world migration panic around the globe,

Bauman dissects the inequalities refugees suffer in a world completely unknown to them because political narratives exploit the anxieties of the people living indoors (residents) as well as standing and knocking outdoors (refugees). (Bauman, 2016) He sympathizes with refugees who have already lost so much at the hands of world politics and religious fanaticism as the innocent people are now poor and disinherited. He puts forward his honest freedom of expression that the world is in a crisis of humanity and the planet Earth is doomed in the long run due to world politics.

In the nutshell, Bauman and Sassen considering the crisis of humanity suggest that people outdoors or indoors should live together with mutual cooperation and in solidarity as refugees and the poor class holds different perspectives, opinions, and preferences distinctive from the settlers and those who are oppressed.


Saskia Sassen. (2018). EXPULSIONS: brutality and complexity in the global economy. Harvard University Press.

Migration is expulsion by another name in the world of foreign land deals | Saskia Sassen. (2013, May 29). The Guardian.

Zygmunt Bauman. (2017). Liquid times living in an age of uncertainty. Cambridge Polity.

Bauman, Z. (2016). Strangers at our door. Polity Press.



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