Social inequality One of the most striking features of all human societies is not that people are different from each other, but that large groups of people have distinctive levels of wealth, power, and honour. Consequently, sociologists have always taken a major interest in these social inequalities, trying to identify the different forms of inequality, to explain what causes them, to understand why they are socially acceptable, and to explore their consequences. Patterns of inequality are interesting in themselves, but they also form the basis of group identity and collective behaviour. It is this that makes them sociologically relevant.