Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank

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New Society Publishers, 2004 - Education - 209 pages
17 Reviews

In the on-going attempts to overcome racism and sexism in North America today, we are overlooking another kind of discrimination that is no less damaging and equally unjustifiable. It is a form of injustice that everyone knows, but no one sees: discrimination based on rank. Low rank -- signifying weakness, vulnerability, and the absence of power -- marks you for abuse in much the same way that race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation have long done.

When discrimination is race-based, we call it racism; when it's gender-based, we call it sexism. By analogy, rank-based discrimination might be called "rankism." Somebodies and Nobodies explains our reluctance to confront rankism, and argues that abuse based on power differences is no more justified than abuse based on color or gender differences. It shows where analyses based on identity fall short and, using dozens of examples to illustrate the argument, traces many forms of injustice and unfairness to rankism.

Somebodies and Nobodies unmasks rankism as The Feminine Mystique unmasked sexism. It demythologizes the prevailing social consensus -- the "Somebody Mystique" -- to demonstrate the pervasiveness and corrosiveness of rankism in our personal lives and social institutions. The book introduces new language and concepts that illuminate the subtle, often dysfunctional workings of power in our social interactions. It presents rankism as the last hurdle on the long road from aristocracy to a true meritocracy, brings into focus a dignitarian revolution that is already taking shape, and offers a preview of post-rankist society.

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Review: Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank

User Review  - Tim Mcleod - Goodreads

The premise of this book was worthy, but filled with so much schlock that I had a hard time staying engaged. There were too many trite references to important social movements, which cheapened the ... Read full review

Review: Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank

User Review  - Elizabeth - Goodreads

I am sad that this book didn't sell as well as it should have. In our fame and status obsessed society there is a lack of dignity and respect that people share who aren't "somebody". It gives you a ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Robert Fuller has had three distinct careers. First, he taught physics at Columbia University in New York City. Second, he was president of Oberlin College which he led through a series of educational reforms, many of which drew national attention. A third career eventually came to be called "citizen diplomacy" which took him all over the world. Fuller is a correspondent for the Pacific News Service, and has written for numerous periodicals, with articles on rankism appearing most recently in the summer 2001 issue of Leader to Leader, a publication of The Peter Drucker Foundation.

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