Penn Graduate School
Penn School of Social
Policy and Practice
The School of
Arts and Sciences
Penn Department of
Penn Population Studies Center
INEQUALITY has emerged as a key political issue.
There are signs moreover that inequality harms health, diminishes political engagement, and ripples across social life throughout the world. During its 2019-2020 theme year, Reverberations of Inequality, the Andrea Mitchell Center will invite a range of speakers to delve into a growing body of scholarship suggesting that inequality is not simply a matter of skewed wealth. Rather, it is something that permeates our lives, its ripple effects shaping our bodies, minds, social networks, identities, life chances, and capacity to participate in shared institutions. And if some degree of equality is indeed a precondition for democratic participation, how might that conflict with the personal liberties that also underlie democracy? What is the correct balance to strike?
University of Minnesota
10/17/2019 Reverberations of Inequality Workshop
Preying on the Poor: Criminal Justice
as Revenue Racket
Featuring Joe Soss (U. Minnesota)
Upcoming: BRUCE MCEWEN and CRAIG MCEWEN on the neurological and physiological impacts of poverty and social inequality
IN MANY SOCIETIES, BUT ESPECIALLY IN THE UNITED STATES, the reverberations of inequality are felt most profoundly by children growing up in poverty. Poverty increases the risk that they will not be ready for school by age 5, will not complete high school, and will be poor as adults. A lack of high-quality pre-schools, secondary schools that are poorly funded and ineffective, challenging neighborhoods, and limited parental resources, among other variables, contribute to these odds. These factors are compounded, however, by the ways that inequality literally gets under the skin, as the toxic stress produced by poverty affects brain and bodily development in early childhood. Combining the perspectives of neuroscience and sociology, brothers BRUCE MCEWEN, head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University, and CRAIG MCEWEN, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Bowdoin College, explore the feedback loops between social inequalities and biological responses to chronic stress, which create potentially life-long consequences for health and life trajectories. As much as neuroscience is key to understanding these effects, the sociological perspective cautions against too narrow a focus on biology. There is the risk of medicalization, which defines problems of adversity primarily as medical conditions requiring individual diagnosis and treatment. Sociological perspectives emphasize the social structures and practices that give rise to adversities and the resources that can protect against their potential impact on bodies and brains. This perspective turns attention to social policies to reduce adversities and to development of community resources to protect against them. Read their essay here.
Thu. November 21, 4:30–6:00 pm
133 S. 36th Street, Room 250
Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
Bruce McEwen Rockefeller University and
Craig McEwen Bowdoin College
INEQUALITY AND EARLY CHILDHOOD ADVERSITY
Toxic Stress and Its Epigenetic Effects
REVERBERATIONS OF INEQUALITY is a year-long program of events organized at the Andrea Mitchell Center by the Reverberations of Inequality Planning Committee: Annette Lareau, Chair (GSE); Regina Austin (Law); Martha Farah (Psychology); Julia Lynch (Political Science); Eric Orts (Wharton); Jeffrey Green, Mitchell Center Director (Political Science); and Matthew Roth, Mitchell Center Assistant Director.
THE ANDREA MITCHELL CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF DEMOCRACY at the University of Pennyslvania aims not just to promote, but to understand, democracy. Global in its outlook, multifaceted in its purposes, the Mitchell Center seeks to contribute to the ongoing quest for democratic values, ideas, and institutions throughout the world. In addition to hosting speakers from the fields of academia, journalism, politics, and public policy, the Mitchell Center supports undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral research. It continues the legacy of the Penn Program for Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism, which fostered interdisciplinary scholarship from 2007 to 2017.