From 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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.