Digital and visual enabled technologies translate global inequality realities into everyday intersubjective ideas and pose complex challenges. We invite discussions on research and communication methods engaging this world of diverse data and audiences that will shape the global inequality agenda.
Inequality and global injustice are the causes celebres of our times. Do new technologies, especially the internet, help media and social media make global inequality issues as apparent and meaningful as everyday social communication and interaction? Such changes constitute political economic and poststructural complex theoretical challenges to inequality research, providing unprecedented opportunities as well as dilemmas. Indeed can the latest developmental discourses catalyse a bottom-up levelling of communicative power networks or reproduce top-down exploitation and inequality fatigue in the form of consumer capitalist rhetoric? The interdisciplinary research of global inequality issues has taken developmental studies out of its comfort zone. The ESRC Centre for Research on Sociology-Cultural change (CRESC) at the University of Manchester and the Open University has been geared to orientate intellectual understanding in the face of changing agendas and demands for new interdisciplinary alliances. Yet how far are academic researchers prepared to go to work with non-mainstream methods? For instance, there is an evident move in data methods recently, which have become vociferous around the issue of Big Data, social media and fake news. More importantly, such phenomena are already here and they challenge the production and communication of development information and knowledge. The way that we engage with this world of unstructured data and diverse transnational audiences will shape the future global inequality agenda. Therefore, we invite researchers to discuss how inequality studies using different methods can complement and strengthen developmental perspectives in the context of the global new trends and challenges in global inequality research.