In this conversation with RevDem guest contributor Máté Rigó, Iván Szelényi discusses his career as a sociologist in Hungary, Australia, and the United States through the theme of social inequality. The conversation addresses his works on leisure time and gender, urban housing under socialism as well as on the wealth of post-socialist oligarchs. Szelényi discusses the role of 1945 and 1989 on social and economic transformations and reflects on the reasons why the study of social inequality was such a sensitive subject prior to 1989. At present “economists are moving aggressively” into the study of inequality, Szelényi concludes, even as social inequality remains the key focus of sociologists.
The conversation follows up on Iván Szelényi’s interview with Holly Case conducted in 2017.
Iván Szelényi is William Graham Sumner Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Political Science, Yale University and Max Weber Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences and former Foundation Dean of Social Sciences at NYU Abu Dhabi. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an ordinary member of the Hungarian National Academy of Sciences. Máté Rigó is assistant professor of History at Yale-NUS College.
In collaboration with Lucie Janotová