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Sociologist to speak on inequality and stigmatization

Media Contact

Jeff Tyson

Michèle Lamont

Economic inequality in advanced industrial societies has been growing in recent years and so has the demand for recognition by stigmatized minority groups. Harvard University sociologist Michèle Lamont will offer evidence of these intertwined facets of inequality and make recommendations for public policy in her Feb. 2 talk, “Addressing the Recognition Gap: Destigmatization and the Reduction of Inequality,” at 3:30 p.m. in Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall.

Lamont will argue that institutions can serve as resources to expand recognition to the largest number of citizens. Drawing on past research, she will explore how various stigmatized groups have responded to exclusion in the United States, Brazil and Israel. She will also consider destigmatization processes as they apply to people with HIV/AIDs, the obese and African-Americans, and how to generate more inclusive societies.

“Michèle Lamont is a leading voice in the debate about inequality, and we are delighted to have her share her research with the Cornell community,” said Kim Weeden, the Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 Professor in the Social Sciences, chair of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Inequality.

A cultural and comparative sociologist, Lamont is the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and professor of sociology and African and African-American Studies at Harvard. She is the winner of the 2017 Erasmus Prize for her contributions to the social sciences and is a former president of the American Sociological Association. She is director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard and co-director of the Successful Societies Program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Lamont is the author of a dozen books and edited volumes and more than 100 articles and chapters on topics including culture and inequality, racism and stigma, academia and knowledge, social change and successful societies, and qualitative methods. Her recent publications include “Trump’s Electoral Speeches and His Appeal to the American White Working Class” in the British Journal of Sociology and “Bridging Cultural Sociology and Cognitive Psychology in Three Contemporary Research Programs” in Nature Human Behavior.

The lecture is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Inequality and the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Linda B. Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.