Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank

Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank

by Robert W. Fuller
     
 

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When discrimination is race-based, we call it racism; when it’s gender-based, we call it sexism. Somebodies and Nobodies introduces rank-based discrimination—or "rankism"—a form of injustice that everyone knows, but no one sees. It explains our reluctance to confront rankism, shows where analyses based on identity fall short and, using

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Overview

When discrimination is race-based, we call it racism; when it’s gender-based, we call it sexism. Somebodies and Nobodies introduces rank-based discrimination—or "rankism"—a form of injustice that everyone knows, but no one sees. It explains our reluctance to confront rankism, shows where analyses based on identity fall short and, using dozens of examples, traces many forms of injustice and unfairness to rankism.

". . . a wonderful and tremendously important book on the ‘ism’ that is far more encompassing than racism, sexism or ageism. ‘Rankism’ must be our prime target from now on in. Viva Fuller!"—Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Working

Robert Fuller served as president of Oberlin College and subsequently worked internationally as a "citizen diplomat." He lives in Berkeley, California.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fuller, former president of Oberlin College, believes there is an insidious force in America that has heretofore gone unrecognized. This "disorder without a name," which he terms "rankism," is discrimination beyond race, gender or educational background. While Fuller observed rankism in action both at Oberlin and as a physics professor at Columbia University, he was only able to fully identify it when he was no longer affiliated with a university. "Lacking the protection of title and status in the years after Oberlin, I experienced what it's like to be taken for a nobody." Fuller goes on to describe the various forms of rankism: scientists taking credit for the work of assistants, nursing home staff treating elderly patients poorly, priests sexually abusing churchgoers, etc. Rankism is an assault on personal dignity and should not be tolerated, says Fuller. According to the author, the condition exists because "rank is linked to power and power protects those who hold it" and "high rank inhibits protests and shields perpetrators." Fuller provides numerous examples, from family dynamics to corporate settings. Although some may argue rankism is just another form of racism, Fuller makes a persuasive case for recognizing this behavior as an abuse of power that transcends race-or gender. But the book falls short of providing enough concrete steps on how to fight this abuse, including only two brief chapters. (Apr.) Forecast: A 10-city author tour, advertising campaign and blurbs from Studs Terkel and Betty Friedan should garner some attention and promote discussion of this "new" concept. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781550924176
Publisher:
New Society Publishers
Publication date:
04/01/2004
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
340,597
File size:
405 KB

Meet the Author

Robert Fuller has had three distinct careers. First, he taught physics at Columbia University in New York City. Second, he was president of Oberlin College which he led through a series of educational reforms, many of which drew national attention. A third career eventually came to be called "citizen diplomacy" which took him all over the world. Fuller is a correspondent for the Pacific News Service, and has written for numerous periodicals, with articles on rankism appearing most recently in the summer 2001 issue of Leader to Leader, a publication of The Peter Drucker Foundation.

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