Against meritocracy: culture, power and myths of mobility

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UCL

222 Euston Road

London

United Kingdom

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After a short break we are delighted to announce our first public meeting of 2019. City University Sociologist Jo Littler will talk about her book 'Against Meritocracy: culture, power and myths of mobility."

The idea that society should be structured as a meritocracy, and that successful societies organise themselves so that the talented rise and the less talented fall has become dominant over the last 40 years. Politicians of the left and right have said they want to make Britain a true meritocracy. Meritocratic ideas have shaped education policy (endlessly testing our children to see how good they are) and the culture of business is permeated with the idea that merit is easily and objectively judged. Sociologist Jo Littler argues that the idea of a society based on objective tests of merit is a myth. People with power and privelege define what merit means, and wealth allows some literally to buy merit for themselves and their children. And because society is a meritocracy and they are at the top, their position proves that they really are better than everyone else. Come along to hear Jo describe how the idea of meritocracy took such hold, where it really comes from, how it has become a bastion of neo-liberal economics, and how it is used to underpin the idea that inequality is inevitable.

Jo will speak for about 30 minutes and we'll have 45 minutes for questions and discussion. What are the alternatives? How should inequality campaigners talk about it?

Please note: this is our first meeting in a new venue (thanks UCL), and we are starting earlier than usual as we have to be out of the room by 8.00 p.m. Please try to arrive by 6.00 and we will aim to get started by 6.15

As usual for MFL events tickets are free, but please book as places are limited. We host these events on a pay-what-you-can basis and will be sending a hat round the room at the end for cash contributions!

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UCL

222 Euston Road

London

United Kingdom

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