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Bruce Western

Bruce Western is a Harvard professor of sociology and director of the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy of Kennedy School of Government.

Western’s work has focused on the role of incarceration in social and economic inequality in American society.

Western’s first book, Between Class and Market: Postwar Unionization in the Capitalist Democracies (Princeton University Press, 1997) concerned the growth and decline of unions in capitalist democracies.

In his second book, Punishment and Inequality in America (Russell Sage Foundation, 2006), Western asks what role incarceration plays in the increasing class stratification of American society. He shows that the elevated numbers of incarcerated African Americans in the 1990s have caused a rift in African American society, and that those with less education are increasingly separated from those with higher education.



Does mass incarceration make us safer?
ASK THIS | November 19, 2007
Harvard sociologist Bruce Western writes that our society’s attempt to increase public safety through an ever-increasing reliance on imprisonment may instead be having the opposite effect, by undermining families and cleaving poor black communities from the mainstream of American life.

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