Ideas Festival / Sun 3rd Dec / 5-6.30 pm
Taking as her key insight the fact that recognition & inclusion are at least as important as income or power in assessing and reaching equality, Michèle Lamont unpacks the power of recognition - how others see us and value us - by drawing on nearly forty years of research and new interviews with young adults, cultural icons and change agents. She shows how new narratives are essential for everyone to feel respect and assert their dignity.
She describes how decades of neoliberalism have negatively impacted our sense of self-worth; by prioritizing material and professional success, we have judged ourselves and others in terms of self-reliance, competition, and diplomas. The foregrounding of these attributes feeds into the marginalisation of minority groups. The solution, Lamont argues, is to shift our focus towards what we have in common while actively working to recognise the diverse ways one can live a life.
Seeing Others delivers a realistic sources of hope: by reducing stigma, we put equality within reach.
Michèle Lamont is Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies at Harvard University. An influential cultural sociologist who studies boundaries and inequality, she has tackled topics such as dignity, respect, stigma, racism, class and racial boundaries, and how we evaluate social worth across societies. Lamont is a leader in the study of culture and inequality in the United States and beyond, helping to redefine the field of sociology as we know it today. Her many awards include the C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems for The Dignity of Working Men, the 2014 Guttenberg Award, the 2017 Erasmus Prize, and honorary doctorates from six countries. She served as President of the American Sociological Association in 2016, was a Carnegie Fellow in 2021-2022, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2023. She co-chaired the advisory board to the 2022 United Nations Human Development Report, “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a World in Transformation.”
Seeing Others: How to Redefine Worth in a Divided World (2023); Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil and Israel (2016); How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment (2009); The Dignity of Working Men: Morality and the Boundaries of Race, Class, and Immigration (2000); Money, Morals, and Manners: The Culture of the French and the American Upper-Middle Class (1992).
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