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All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity Hardcover – May 25, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Educator and humanitarian Fuller follows up his Somebodies and Nobodies with this stimulating, scattershot manifesto on the fight against "rankism," or the abuse of power based on rank. While the notion subsumes racism, sexism and class inequality, rankism also addresses the thousand daily insults—inflicted by playground bullies, abusive bosses, officious bureaucrats, condescending academics and snobs—that everyone suffers in a hierarchical, status-conscious society. Fuller's program for a "dignitarian society" emphasizes fine-grained reform of institutions and interpersonal relations, with lots of committee meetings and frank dialogues with rankist reprobates. A physicist by training, Fuller advances a deliberately vague, liberalish policy agenda, featuring schemes for conducting "dignity impact studies before authorizing new uses of power." Fuller insists that the dispassionate discussion of provisional "models" of reality can resolve any dispute without recourse to rank-pulling; religious fundamentalists and rationalists, for example, should just "build a 'meta-model' that reconciles the antagonists' views on basic methodological issues." Fuller's high-mindedness sometimes verges on naïveté, but his provocative analysis illuminates a rich vein of social discontent.
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Review

"All Rise gives us a clear mandate for transforming our society into a true democracy." -- Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 203 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Annotated edition (May 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576753859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576753859
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,632,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Linne Gravestock on May 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Robert Fuller has written another extremely important book, one that takes a close look at how our institutions are changing and how we can change them to serve us better. We're all aware of how deflating many of our daily encounters can be. Here, each page makes us even more aware of the occasions when our dignity is being trampled---and what to do about it. It's a place we can turn for courage.
I wish I had the means to put this book in the hands of those who make mainstream movies. I want to see a movie where the hero or group of heroines say just those things we wish we could think of when we've been embarrassed, put down, humiliated or dismissed. I don't mean what we usually say when we intend to give the perpetrator his lumps. I'd like to see an exciting, funny, sometimes somber, always thoughtful movie showing the hero moving through life's common indignities---but coping gracefully with them.
As Fuller writes, "Rankism can only be ended when people find a way to protect the dignity of their tormenters while at the same time suggesting to them a way to treat people with respect." What we all need, as Fuller points out, is better models as illustrations of coping, a kind of verbal aikido which lets the person know that you've heard and received the injury, but that you're both bigger and smarter than that. In short, we need to have fun with our imaginations as we delve into deeper levels of response, levels where we're proud of our ability of think of new solutions, proud of how we've responded at the scene. We want ways to at least feel that we're left in a neutral position, rather than as enemies waiting for vengeance.
What is more important in this historic period of our lives?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Over the many years, roughly 3,000 books of which 850+ have been reviewed here at Amazon, with a few exceptions all of the authors at the top of their game, I have never encountered a book quite so straight-forward or quite so vital to our future. At 54, I simply did not understand the fundamentals of "all men are created equal" until this author pointed me to the one word I was missing: "dignity."

This book is nothing less than revolutionary, nothing less than the manifesto for the new politics of transpartisanship and being developed by Don Beck and Jim Turner and Reuniting America (80 million strong and growing).

At the very highest level, the author suggests that "rankism" or the abuse of rank, not to be confused with the proper use of rank and authority for the good of the group, is an umbrella term that encompasses racism, sexism, fascism, and even (I add) fundamentalism that excludes "the others" and offers an almost cult-like sense of belonging to the "initiated." We are all in this together, and with one word, DIGNITY, the author has completely shredded all excuses for abusing others, and opened the door for a new politics of one for all and all for one. The Republican and Democratic parties are, in my personal view, toast. Not their individual candidates, mind you, but the two parties, both of which violated their Article 1 responsibilities for keeping the White House in check, both of which have treated "the other" party as the enemy, with arrests, venomous attacks, slander, and other monstrous behavior.
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Format: Hardcover
If Robert W. Fuller's hopes for the human race were to come true, the world would be a better place. A dignitarian society where everyone is valued would transform our interactions at the personal, local, national, and international levels. Fuller doesn't argue that everyone has equal skills, abilities, or position power but suggests arbitrary delineations of "rank" are used to give people cover to treat others disrespectfully or abusively.

Fuller describes "rankism" as a label comparable to racism, sexism, and ageism, where one uses the external characteristics of a person or group to render that person invisible or less worthy in some regard. While sometimes the offense is deliberate as in the case of discriminatory policies or legislation, often the questionable behavior is unconscious and unintended.

Think about it. Here is action that is totally free and within every individual's power to control. Like a smile, it's contagious. It provides psychic pleasure to everyone involved and is capable of making a profound difference in our own lives and the lives of others. It doesn't solve all of society's ills but--if it caught on--we, and democracy itself, would be taking a giant leap forward. Related ideas like "common sense, common decency, basic good manners" all suggest the fundamentals are within everyone's grasp.

In fact, it's difficult to think of reasons not to behave as Fuller suggests, especially at the personal level. The obvious barriers are one's own insensitivity, insecurity, ignorance, or spite. Let's take the first case--insensitivity--maybe there's someone you know who engages in rankism but doesn't realize it. He doesn't know the name of the person who cleans the office or the guy who cares for his lawn.
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