We review the main distributional effects of the Great Recession and the ways in which those effects have been organized into narratives. The Great Recession may affect poverty, inequality, and other economic and noneconomic outcomes by changing individual-level behavior, encouraging the rise of new social movements or reviving older ones, motivating new economic policy and associated institutional change, or affecting the ideologies and frames through which labor markets and the key forces for economic change are viewed. The amount of sociological research within each of these areas is relatively small (compared with the amount contributed by other disciplines) and has focused disproportionately on monitoring trends or uncovering the causal effects of the Great Recession on individual-level behavior. We review this existing research and point to opportunities for sociologists to better understand how the Great Recession may be changing the economy as well as our narratives about its problems and dysfunctions.


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