The paper deals with the key topic of the XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology (Yokohama, 13-19 July 2014) — social inequality. It presents an overview of the main approaches to this problem, reflected in the papers by M. Burawoy, G. Standing, G. Therborn, and E.O. Wright. The turn of the global sociological community to social inequality stimulates, on the one hand, the change of its social structure (increasing the share of sociologist living outside of the Western world), and on the other hand, its logical shift to the left. It is impossible to study social inequality not reflecting on the way to change this situation, which has taken unacceptable scale. However, what is to be done? The sociologists explained and continue to explain the world, but is it their business to change the social world? Different answers to this question appeared in the positions of M. Burawoy and P. Sztompka. It is a contradiction between the activism of the public sociology and traditional academic research.

Keywords: ISA Congress, inequality, precariat, utopia