It has been a real pleasure for me to come to the CHER 2013 conference held in Lausanne. I first would like to thank Christine Musselin, as the CHER president, and Gaële Goastellec, as the conference organiser, for their invitation to think more systematically about the question of the potential impact of University, Higher Education and Research on the well-being of societies. This theme is particularly important to me as over the last years, my research has converged around the issue of societal well-being on the one hand, and on peer review on the other. I am thrilled that the CHER invitation has given me the opportunity to make connections between two of my main research lines, which have been pursued largely independently of one another until today.
This paper considers changes in the symbolic boundaries of French society under the influence of neoliberalism. As compared to the early nineties, stronger boundaries toward the poor and Blacks are now being drawn while North-African immigrants and their offsprings continue to be largely perceived as outside the community of those who deserve recognition and protection. Moreover, while the social reproduction of upper-middle class privileges has largely remained unchanged, there is a blurring of the symbolic boundaries separating the middle and working class as the latter has undergone strong individualization. Also, the youth is now bearing the brunt of France’s non-adaptation to changes in the economy and is increasingly marginalized. The result is a dramatic change in the overall contours of the French symbolic community, with a narrowed definition of cultural membership, and this, against a background of growing inequality, unemployment, and intolerance in a more open and deregulated labor market.
We are grateful to Matteo Bortolini for initiating a symposium around Social Knowledge in the Making (SKM). As a collective project, this book was with us for several years and was a welcomed opportunity for stimulating dialogue between the three co-editors. It is with pleasure that we now respond to Matteo’s invitation to reflect on the fate of the adventure two years after the book’s publication. We address how it has been received, whether the reception has met our expectations, and respond to the specific reactions of Kelly Moore, Johannes Angermuller, and Kristoffer Kropp published in this symposium. We appreciate that these talented sociologists of the social sciences and the humanities took on the challenge of engaging our work.
This essay engages with Wimmer’s Ethnic Boundary Making to consider how cultural processes feed into inequality. It describes the strengths of the book, relates it to my early work, and draws on Lamont, Beljean, and Clair (forthcoming), to describe two types of identification processes (racialization and stigmatization) and two types of rationalization processes (standardization and evaluation) that contribute to an understanding of the relationship between symbolic and social boundaries. It stresses similarities and differences between approaches and suggests possible points for convergence.
Despite large gains in health over the past few decades, the distribution of health risks worldwide remains extremely and unacceptably uneven. Although the health sector has a crucial role in addressing health inequalities, its eff orts often come into confl ict with powerful global actors in pursuit of other interests such as protection of national security, safeguarding of sovereignty, or economic goals. This is the starting point of The Lancet–University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health. With globalisation, health inequity increasingly results from transnational activities that involve actors with diff erent interests and degrees of power: states, transnational corporations, civil society, and others. The decisions, policies, and actions of such actors are, in turn, founded on global social norms. Their actions are not designed to harm health, but can have negative side effects that create health inequities. The norms, policies, and practices that arise from global political interaction across all sectors that affect health are what we call global political determinants of health.