Inequality in the US and Europe

PODCAST | ep1 | with Michèle Lamont, Peter A. Hall, and Paul Pierson

Despite the decline in global poverty rates over the past five or six decades, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow ever wider, especially in the industrialized West. Three scholars—Michèle Lamont, Peter A. Hall, and Paul Pierson—discuss how housing and education can actually reinforce inequality, and who in our society is seen as “deserving” of getting help, or not, and how that has changed over time.

Image of Michele Lamont, Peter Hall, and Paul Pierson

Listen to episode #1 (49:19) by clicking the play button below:

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A Life in the Margins: Understanding the Roma Experience

In recognition of International Roma Day, Weatherhead Faculty Associates Jacqueline Bhabha and Jennifer Leaning, and their colleague, Roma Program Director Margareta Matache, discuss the annual conference and their team’s research on a disenfranchised people.

Image of Roma painting

In one of the popular Madeline children’s stories, the well-known redheaded French schoolgirl runs away with her friend Pepito to join a caravan of Gypsies who train them to perform in their traveling circus. At first they are thrilled not to have to go to school or brush their teeth. But when they become homesick, the Gypsy mother sews them into a lion costume, effectively kidnapping them.

Of course it ends well, with a rescued Madeline exchanging farewells with the affectionate Gypsy mother and children and returning to boarding school.

Is this a harmless children’s adventure story or does it perpetuate an enduring stereotype of criminality and indifference among a little-understood ethnic group? The educational crisis of Romani children (pejoratively referenced as “Gypsies”) is just one of many research topics spearheaded by a faculty team from the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center on Health and Human Rights at Harvard.

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The Complex Ties between Poverty and Exclusion

Conference theme quotation

To what extent does poverty contribute to social exclusion? How can the exclusion of particular groups be reduced?

These were just two of the questions scholars addressed at the Social Inclusion and Poverty Eradication Workshop on November 17–18, 2016, a two-day event co-sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the Center for European Studies, and the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP). The conference was convened by Weatherhead Center Director Michèle Lamont, Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and professor of sociology and of African and African American studies at Harvard University; and Hilary Silver, professor of sociology and urban studies and professor of public policy at Brown University.

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Cross-National Responses to Discrimination: A Q&A with Michèle Lamont

Image of Michele Lamont

Racism and discrimination are daily realities for members of marginalized groups. But what does it look like at the ground level, and how do individuals from various groups and countries respond to such experiences? Drawing on more than 400 in-depth interviews with middle class and working class men and women residing in the multi-ethnic suburbs of New York, Rio, and Tel Aviv, and representing five different racial “groups,” a team of sociologists examine how people deal with and make sense of the various forms of exclusion that are ever present in their lives.

Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil & Israel opens up many new perspectives on the comparative analysis of race and identity.

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On Love and Metamorphosis

Image of Andrea Ortiz

Andrea Ortiz went down to the Charles River on the afternoon that she—victoriously—submitted her senior thesis. There she was, a girl born in Mexico City, an immigrant raised in Miami, a bright light, the first in her family line to get to Harvard. Yet she felt a wave of sadness, and that, she reasoned, made no sense. So she sat by the river to think until it came to her: this was yearning.

“You never accomplish anything alone. I was feeling the absence of the people who were most influential in getting me to this point,” she said later. “I wished they could be here too.”... Read more about On Love and Metamorphosis

Neoliberal Policy Implementation Goes Hand in Hand with Stronger Symbolic Boundaries

Image of Figure 1

Jonathan Mijs and Michèle Lamont

Citizens in countries that implemented more rigorous neoliberal policies over the last two decades (1990 to 2010) draw stronger symbolic boundaries between themselves and unwanted others. Based on publicly available data from the European Values Study, our research suggests that neoliberal policy implementation is intricately related to the ways in which citizens define worthiness.... Read more about Neoliberal Policy Implementation Goes Hand in Hand with Stronger Symbolic Boundaries