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Relational InequalitiesAn Organizational Approach$
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Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and Dustin Avent-Holt

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190624422

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190624422.001.0001

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Relational Inequality Theory

Relational Inequality Theory

(p.43) 3 Relational Inequality Theory
Relational Inequalities

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey

Dustin Avent-Holt

Oxford University Press

This chapter is an introduction to relational inequality theory (RIT). In RIT resources are generated and pool in organizations. Actors with legitimated claims gain access to those resources. Some people and potential trading partners are denied access to organizational resources through processes of social closure. Others appropriate organizational resources based on their ability to exploit weaker actors in production and exchange relationships. Actors are more or less powerful in these claims-making processes to the extent that they have cultural, status, and material advantages in resource-distributing relationships. These power-generating resources tend to be associated with categorical distinctions such as ownership, occupation, gender, education, citizenship, and race. Which categorical distinctions are the basis for claims-making are institutionally and organizationally variable. Markets as well as institutional fields influence, but do not determine, action and opportunities. Rather, actors use cultural and other tools to invent local strategies of action.

Keywords:   categorization, intersectionality, organization, institution, claims-making, status, power, economic rent, closure, resource pooling

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