Addressing the Recognition Gap: Destigmatization and the Reduction of Inequality – A Lecture by Michèle Lamont

4:00 pm on Monday, September 18, 2017
6:00 pm on Monday, September 18, 2017
Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering (CILSE), 610 Commonwealth Avenue

Join us for a lecture by Michèle Lamont, Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies, Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies, and Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

In recent years, advanced industrial societies have experienced two simultaneously changes: growing inequality between the upper middle class and other classes, and multiplying claims for recognition from various groups. To make sense of these twin transformations, social scientists need to consider recognition and distribution as two intertwined facets of inequality. This leads Lamont to make the case for the study of cultural processes of recognition and stigmatization across a range of contexts. She offers evidence of a growing recognition gap, with rigidifying boundaries toward the poor, Muslims and other groups in the United States and Europe. She argues that institutions and cultural repertoires can serve as resources to expand recognition to the largest number of citizens, and explores how various stigmatized groups have responded to exclusion across three national contexts (the United States, Brazil and Israel). Finally, drawing on the secondary literature, she considers destigmatization processes as they apply to people with HIV-AIDs, the obese and African Americans. Together, these diverse contributions aim to improve our understanding of how to generate more inclusive societies. The talk concludes with recommendations from the perspective of the social sciences and public policy.

A cultural and comparative sociologist, Lamont is the author of a dozen books and edited volumes and close to one hundred articles and chapters on a range of topics including culture and inequality, racism and stigma, academia and knowledge, social change and successful societies, and qualitative methods. She is currently working on a monograph titled Being Worthy. She is the recipient of the 2017 Erasmus prize for her contributions to the social sciences in Europe and the rest of the world.