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Dignity for All: How to Create a World Without Rankism 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-1576757895
ISBN-10: 1576757897
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise from the Publisher

"Rankism is far more encompassing than racism, sexism, or ageism and it must be our prime target from now on."
--Studs Terkel, Pulitzer prize-winning author of Working

"Dignity for All gives us the essential tools to stop abuses of rank and to build high-performing institutions and organizations based on respect."
--Wes Boyd, co-founder, MoveOn.org

"This handbook brings an exciting new voice to social science and to the public as well. I believe that these ideas are destined to play an important role in our century."
--Thomas J. Scheff, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of California Santa Barbara

"A clear mandate for transforming our society into a true democracy."
--Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes

About the Author

Robert W. Fuller earned his Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University and taught at Columbia, where he co-authored Mathematics of Classical and Quantum Physics. After serving as president of Oberlin College, he became a "citizen diplomat," working toward improving international relations during the Cold War. During the 1990s, he served as board chair of the non-profit global corporation Internews and promoted democracy via free and independent media. When the Cold War ended with the collapse of the USSR, Fuller reflected on his career and realized that he had been, at different times in his life, a somebody and a nobody. His periodic sojourns into "Nobodyland" led him to identify rankism--abuse of the power inherent in rank--and ultimately to write Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank. Three years later, he published a sequel that focuses on building a "dignitarian society" titled All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity. With co-author Pamela Gerloff, he has also published Dignity for All: How to Create a World Without Rankism. His most recent books are Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship?, From Genome to Wenome: The Key to Universal Dignity, and The Rowan Tree: A Novel.

Pamela A. Gerloff is the founder of Compelling Vision(tm), a consulting business which provides presentations, training, and consulting to individuals and organizations seeking to create dignitarian environments.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 86 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576757897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576757895
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #658,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ROBERT W. FULLER earned his Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University and taught at Columbia, where he co-authored MATHEMATICS OF CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM PHYSICS. After serving as president of Oberlin College, he became a "citizen diplomat," working toward improving international relations during the Cold War. During the 1990s, he served as board chair of the non-profit global corporation Internews and promoted democracy via free and independent media. When the Cold War ended with the collapse of the USSR, Fuller reflected on his career and realized that he had been, at different times in his life, a somebody and a nobody. His periodic sojourns into "Nobodyland" led him to identify rankism--abuse of the power inherent in rank--and ultimately to write SOMEBODIES AND NOBODIES: OVERCOMING THE ABUSE OF RANK. Three years later, he published a sequel that focuses on building a "dignitarian society" titled ALL RISE: SOMEBODIES, NOBODIES, AND THE POLITICS OF DIGNITY. With co-author Pamela Gerloff, he has also published DIGNITY FOR ALL: HOW TO CREATE A WORLD WITHOUT RANKISM. His most recent books are RELIGION AND SCIENCE: A BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP?, GENOMES, MENOMES, WENOMES: NEUROSCIENCE AND HUMAN DIGNITY, and THE ROWAN TREE: A NOVEL.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I had previously read and reviewed All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents (Hardcover)) and as much as I liked that first book, this is the one I recommend as a broad use item. It is ideal for any company or organizational off-set as a pre-arrival required reading, as a gift (including as an anonymous gift to the rankism-challenged, and as a personal easy to read book.

I myself have been terribly guilty of rankism, primarily in the customer service arena, where mediocre service has roused my fury and I have been less than stellar at realizing that it's not the person, it's the system, and so many others are responsible for the mediocrity that I am a fool for taking it out on the one person I can see.

Where this book renders a very useful service is in the naming of the anti-thesis to dignity, i.e. rankism. This is not a book about dignity, but rather about rankism in all its forms and how that robs all of us of dignity, but especially those least able to handle the inequalities including (new term for me) micro-inequalities--the subtle pecking to death by ducks, e.g. being interrupted constantly, not noticed, etc.

I have been focusing on integrity recently, on truth, and I confess that I have not given enough thought to the tact side of the equation. This book is persuasive in saying that truth by itself is not enough, truth must be accompanied by tact, or as I have it in my notes, "Integrity plus dignity = informed democracy."

There are 24 sidebars, each a little gem, the key points are summarized at the end of each chapter, and I believe this book finally meets the need for a Citizen 101 Guide.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Miller on August 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Authors Robert Fuller and Pamela Gerloff propose an audacious goal: "to outline a pathway into a bold new world." They maintain that the failure to afford dignity to all persons is at the root of much of the unnecessary suffering, injustice and violence in the world, and that the simple (though elusive) intention to treat each individual with respect could provide societies with a fundamentally different moral and ethical compass. A "dignitarian" society, or a "culture of dignity," would fully honor the founding principles of American democracy and universal principles of human rights. According to Fuller and Gerloff, modern democracies have advanced toward these principles by identifying and addressing social realms where injustice has existed, and now, the simple conceptual tool of "rankism" enables us to identify, and begin to root out, the widespread abuse of power arising from social status and position. They suggest that "rankism" may well be the "overarching ism" that fuels all the specific variants of inequality, discrimination, and oppression.

The book is written in a deceptively simple style, to demonstrate that individuals can begin to recognize the many subtle ways that rankism operates in common, everyday behavior. The book does not propose a sophisticated political, ideological, or economic analysis because the authors suggest that the shift from rankism to dignitarian society is more basic, more elemental, than those layers of social reality. In this sense, the book's analysis offers a practical variation on Riane Eisler's concept of "dominator" vs. "partnership" cultural orientations--broad cultural templates that underpin a wide range of institutions, beliefs, and mundane, taken-for-granted habits.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John D. Mccann on July 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
This new book by Robert Fuller and Pamela Gerloff builds on the seminal work of Dr. Fuller on the subject of rankism. (See Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank and All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents (Hardcover)) Those earlier works identified and defined the concept of rankism, which is "the abuse of the power attached to rank". More than just another "ism", rankism in fact encompasses all the isms (sexism, racicm, etc) because they all deal with someone abusing their power to get what they want. By identifying the problem, the authors give us the ability to understand and deal with it.

This new book provides practical and useable advise on how to recognize rankism in others (easy) and in ourselves (much harder). It also provides gives tools to raise the issue in a way that is respectful of all parties. One of the hardest things to do is to respond to someone who is treating us without dignity in a way that demonstrates dignity for the offender. Yet, that is the only way to break the cycle of rankism.

Told largely through the use of stories and examples, the book is an easy and enlightening read.

Both as an overview of the subject of rankism, and as a treatise on how to address the issue, this book is highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joyce on September 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In his earlier books, Fuller exposed rankism: abuse of the power inherent in rank to exploit or humiliate someone of lower rank. Rankism occurs when a boss yells at an employee, when a doctor demeans a nurse, when a customer is rude to a waitress, when a company executive has an intimate relationship with an intern and she loses her job (but he doesn't). Rankism may take the form of sexual abuse by clergy, maltreatment of elders in nursing homes, humiliation of prisoners by guards, large nations intimidating smaller nations into serving the larger country's interests, or genocide. So, again, rankism occurs when those of higher rank (those with power over another) treat those of lower rank in ways that violate their dignity.

Fuller and Gerloff offer a guide to eradicate rankism. Explaining the need for the name "rankism," they remind us that it was only after naming "sexism" that the women's movement was able to focus the world's attention on gender inequality. There is a power in naming. Once you have a name for rankism you begin to see it everywhere. Understanding rankism makes us more conscious of our dignity and that of others. Rankism is particularly useful as a concept because it underlies all other "isms," such as racism and sexism.

The book helps you to notice rankism, from the subtlety of a raised eyebrow or an impatient sigh to humans misusing other species. It suggests ways to start a dialogue about it. There are stories of how others have spoken up effectively when they encountered rankism. One woman heard two women at the airport baggage claim voicing their prejudices against lesbians. She said: "I couldn't help but overhear your conversation. I'm a lesbian, and I don't think I'm that bad or dangerous.
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