The Social Innovation and Change Research Seminar is a venue for researchers of social innovation and social change to present and receive feedback on their research. The seminar is explicitly multi-disciplinary; work may draw on fields as diverse as sociology, political science, psychology, economics, and other social science approaches.
On behalf of the recently launched Social Innovation and Change Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, we invite you to join our inaugural research seminar.
THE FIRST SEMINAR IS TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 2017, featuring
Maureen Scully, Associate Professor of Management at the University of Massachusetts – Boston
on “Mobilizing the Wealthy: Doing “Privilege Work” and Challenging the Roots of Inequality”
Time: 12:30-2:00pm; Location: 124 Mt. Auburn, Suite 160, Room 105
Summary: Wealthy individuals stand to gain materially from economic inequality, and moreover, have shaped many organizational and societal practices that perpetuate economic
inequality to their advantage. Thus, they are unlikely allies in the effort to remedy economic inequality and indeed likely to contest systematic policies to reduce inequality. In this paper, however, we study the mobilization of a small group of wealthy activists who join allies from lower socioeconomic strata to expose and redress the root causes of wealth consolidation. They offer an instructive alternative to “philanthrocapitalism,” whereby the wealthy present their wealth accumulation as a superior qualification for addressing societal problems and do not address the root causes of how their wealth was amassed. Our study contributes to the growing literature on inequality and organizations, which are the vectors for distributing wages and investment returns, by examining how the wealthy may sometimes wrestle with the sources of their wealth. Advocacy from wealthy allies is unexpected and may jolt attention and change. We derive the concept of “privilege work” from our observations of an often awkward and fraught process that enables the wealthy to engage with their own privilege, use their insider knowledge of wealth accumulation as a lever for change, and work respectfully alongside underprivileged allies. Privilege work represents a new type of ally work along the dimension of socioeconomic class, with potential, even if limited, to disrupt escalating inequality.
We hope to see you there!
Learn more about the Social Innovation and Change Initiative (SICI ; pronounced “sigh-see”) and see listing of upcoming seminars at: http://sici-hks.org/