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  • Sociologist Michèle Lamont - ScienceLives
    Sociologist Michèle Lamont - ScienceLives
  • March 2021 Seminar Series: Dr. Michèle Lamont
    March 2021 Seminar Series: Dr. Michèle Lamont
  • Michèle Lamont: The Current Crisis of American Class Society (Mosse-Lecture vom 21.11.2019)
    Michèle Lamont: The Current Crisis of American Class Society (Mosse-Lecture vom 21.11.2019)
  • Destigmatization: Breaking the Wall to Universal Dignity | Michèle Lamont
    Destigmatization: Breaking the Wall to Universal Dignity | Michèle Lamont
  • Socio Congress 2021 - Keynote speaker Michèle Lamont
    Socio Congress 2021 - Keynote speaker Michèle Lamont
  • Falling Walls Breakthrough Conversation with Michèle Lamont
    Falling Walls Breakthrough Conversation with Michèle Lamont
  • The Future of Europe
    The Future of Europe
  • Michèle Lamont (Harvard University), New Engines of Hope after the American Dream
    Michèle Lamont (Harvard University), New Engines of Hope after the American Dream
  • : Michèle Lamont - In Search of Narratives of Hope - Keynote Speech at ISS 2020 annual conference
    : Michèle Lamont - In Search of Narratives of Hope - Keynote Speech at ISS 2020 annual conference
  • Harvard Professor Michele Lamont at the Berkeley Forum: Evaluating Society with a Sociological Lens
    Harvard Professor Michele Lamont at the Berkeley Forum: Evaluating Society with a Sociological Lens
  • Michele Lamont:  Symbolic and Social Boundaries
    Michele Lamont: Symbolic and Social Boundaries

Learn More About Michèle Lamont

How do leaders influence who matters and who doesn’t – in the workplace and in society? Who owns the narrative, and what can be done to broaden definitions so organizations, communities and individuals can thrive?

Such questions are at the heart of esteemed Harvard University Professor Michèle Lamont’s research. Professor of Sociology and of African and African American studies, and one of the world’s leading scholars of individual and group transformation, she offers organizational leaders a unique, non-partisan perspective on how they can create conditions where dignity, equality, respect, inclusion and destigmatization are actively promoted and ensured so people can do their best work and be their best selves.

A comparative sociologist, Lamont’s research focuses on non-material ways of bestowing recognition and affirming identities, practices that greatly enhance workplace culture, employee retention, collaboration, productivity and society as a whole. As seen in her new TED Talk, “How to Heal a Divided World,” her work also helps leaders identify and address recognition gaps that may be inadvertently overlooked by the organization, but not by the employee.

Author or coauthor of a dozen books and edited volumes and hundreds of articles and chapters on a range of topics including culture, social boundariesracism, social change and successful societies, Lamont’s upcoming book examines the challenge of creating collective well-being in the face of mass inequity.

“As we face alarming levels of inequality in nearly every country, it is urgent that we extend dignity and respect to the largest number of people, regardless of their beliefs, affiliations or the color of their skin,” explains Lamont. “We can each play a part in creating more inclusive organizations and societies, especially corporations, policy makers and cultural entrepreneurs.”

From 2014 to 2021, Lamont served as director of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and now leads its research cluster on Comparative Inequality and Inclusion. Well-known to global audiences as a comparative educator, researcher and speaker, she became interested in boundaries – sexual, racial, class, professional and spatial – while growing up in Canada and seeing how linguistic divisions changed narratives. Her simple message, which reaches across social and socioeconomic divides, is that it is possible to bolster dignity across the social spectrum by using new narratives. Helping people understand how to develop such narratives is where she does her best work.

Lamont has conducted extensive research on the corrosive effects of stigmas, including how various stigmatized groups have responded to exclusion in the United States, Europe, Brazil and Israel. Conversely, she also examines success stories, pointing to a reduction in stigmas around obese people, African Americans and people with HIV/AIDs.

“I am glad to see young adults and agents of change promoting destigmatization, but organizations can play a powerful role in expanding recognition to the largest number of citizens,” Lamont explains. “By becoming more inclusive we also invite in more ideas, strengthen teamwork and build trust. It is our moral obligation to ensure people feel part of the greater whole at work, in their communities and in the world.”

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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. She co-chairs the advisory board to the 2021-22 UN Human Development Report “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a World in Transformation.” Recent honors include a Carnegie fellowship (2019-2021), a Russell Sage Foundation fellowship (2019-2020), the 2017 Erasmus Prize and honorary doctorates from six countries. From 2016 to 2017, she served as the 108th President of the American Sociological Association.

Michèle Lamont is available to educate your organization via virtual and in-person interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Michèle Lamont was last modified: July 29th, 2022 by Valerie Reaburn

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Thinking Differently About Differences: Build Trust and Improve Culture by Actively Promoting Inclusion

When it comes to building a healthy culture of inclusion, many organizations talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. That’s a missed opportunity, says Harvard University Professor Michèle Lamont, a renowned authority on social resilience, inclusion and stigma transformation. Lamont helps organizations go beyond checking boxes to improving workplace culture, employee retention, collaboration and productivity by helping them create conditions where dignity, equality, respect and destigmatization are actively promoted and ensured so people can do their best work and be their best selves. In this talk, she teaches leaders how to identify their blind spots and become aware of their narratives around who matters and who doesn’t.

Non-Material Incentives for Attracting and Retaining Talent

Organizations can raise salaries all they want but attracting and retaining loyal employees is not all about money, says Harvard University Professor Michèle Lamont, a renowned authority on individual and collective wellness and group transformation. Drawing on her decades of research, which shows that dignity, respect and inclusion are core aspects of employee satisfaction, she discusses the harms caused by intended or unintended exclusion, the need to combat stigmas and non-material incentives for building trust and loyalty. By creating conditions where people feel respected and valued, organizations achieve a win-win.

Cultivate Future Leaders and Transform Your Organization by Promoting a Sense of Belonging

Organizational leaders tasked with grooming employees to eventually lead may find it difficult. Some may even feel threatened while others may lack to the right skill set. In this talk, Harvard University Professor Michèle Lamont, a renowned authority on social resilience, inclusion and group transformation, discusses the importance of recognition and membership – for instance a positive message an organization sends to an employee about belonging. She then outlines the many ways organizations and employees benefit from giving people the tools they need to advance and eventually lead, and highlights why creating conditions where dignity, equality, respect, inclusion and destigmatization are actively promoted and ensured benefits everyone involved.

European Studies: Past, Present and Future

(Agenda Publishing, April 2020)

Cultural Sociology and China

(The Journal of Chinese Sociology, October 2018)

The Trump/Brexit Moment: Causes and Consequences

(Wiley Online Library, November 2017)

Social Resilience in the Neo-Liberal Era

(Cambridge University Press, February 2013)

Social Knowledge in the Making

(University of Chicago Press, July 2012)

“‘Getting Respect’ brings a powerful comparative lens to understanding the experiences of disadvantaged minorities. With fresh data from the United States, Brazil, and Israel, Michèle Lamont and her colleagues sketch a rich portrait of responses to encounters with discrimination. This ambitious book reveals anew the deep complexity, contextual variation, and poignant human meaning of ethnoracial disadvantage. It is a must-read for all those interested in the contemporary dynamics of ethnoracial identities and struggles.”

Lawrence Bobo, Praise for “Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel”:, Harvard University

“A stunningly successful comparative analysis of stigmatization and discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel, ‘Getting Respect’ shows how cultural repertories and group boundaries that exist at the national level shape individual experiences of racism, self-worth, and respect. This book is a major addition to the study of race and discrimination and a huge contribution to macrocomparative sociology.”

James Mahoney, Northwestern University

“W. E. B. Dubois once asked, ‘How does it feel to be a problem?’ This ambitious, evocative book takes a comparative, decidedly international approach to offer a substantive answer. ‘Getting Respect’ is a rigorous social scientific attempt to think through what stigmatization feels like to the stigmatized and will be valuable reading for scholars and students alike.”

John L. Jackson Jr, author of “Real Black”

“Focusing on how victims of discrimination across countries protect their self-worth, ‘Getting Respect’ is a much-needed addition to the study of everyday racism. This book is a fascinating read, thick with information, and rich in contextualized explanations. It will be an excellent resource for education, community empowerment, and policymaking.”

Philomena Essed, Antioch University