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Successful Societies

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Why are some societies more successful than others?

Successful societies are those that create conditions that lead to better health, well-being and resilience for individuals and communities. The program aims to identify the cultural and social frameworks that put societies on a path toward greater and more equitable prosperity. It looks beyond simple economic analysis, and examines how an individual’s sense of identity and belonging within a culture can affect overall economic, physical and psychological well-being.

The Successful Societies program brings together academics from sociology, political science, political philosophy, history, economics, and organizational, cultural and social psychology to share insights and create new understandings about how societal structures facilitate or inhibit the flourishing of a society. The program bridges the gap between researchers interested in studying institutions and those who study culture. It shows how understanding the interaction of institutional and cultural frameworks gives meaningful insights into how societies create opportunities for individual fulfilment and happiness.

The program provides a broad framework for research and analysis, while also providing insights that directly inform debate about hard questions with public policy implications around the globe. Work by fellows in the program has informed policy around early childhood education, immigration, health policy and more.

In contrast to research groups that focus largely on income inequality as an economic or political phenomenon, the Successful Societies program considers how a wide range of social inequalities—including inequalities of gender, race, religion, class and income—are related to one another. Drawing on its interdisciplinary strengths, the program analyses the cultural and social processes that generate, reinforce or mitigate such inequalities. Since its launch in 2002, the program has produced two influential volumes: Social Resilience in the Neoliberal Era (2013) and Successful Societies: How Institutions and Culture Affect Health (2009).


SELECTED PAPERS

Li, L., C. Power, S. Kelly, C. Hertzman and C. Kirschbaum, “Life-time socio-economic position and cortisol secretion patterns in mid-life,” Psychoneuroendocrinology 32, 7 (2007) : 824 -833. PDF

Bouchard, G. L’Interculturalisme. Un point de vue québécois. Montréal, Boréal, 2012. PDF

A. Swidler and S. Cotts Watkins, “‘Teach a Man to Fish’: The Sustainability Doctrine and Its Social Consequences,” World Development 37, 7 (July 2009)  1182-1196. ABSTRACT

W. Sewell, “Economic Crises and the Shape of Modern History,” Public Culture 24, 2 (2012) : 302-27. ABSTRACT

Hall, P. and Lamont, M.. Social Resilience In The Neoliberal Era. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. ABSTRACT

Contact the program’s senior director, Kate Geddie

Founded In

2002

Renewal Dates

2008, 2012

Supporters

BMO Financial Group, Anonymous (1)

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Sociology, including demography, social stratification, social theory and cultural sociology; political science, including comparative politics, political economy and comparative public policy; organizational, cultural and social psychology; political philosophy; history; economics

Contact

Kate Geddie and Rachel Parker

Fellows & Advisors

Program Directors

Michèle Lamont

Program Co-Director

Successful Societies
Harvard University
United States

Paul Pierson

Program Co-Director

Successful Societies
University of California Berkeley
United States
Fellows

David B. Grusky

Fellow

Successful Societies
Stanford University
United States

Peter A. Hall

Fellow

Successful Societies
Harvard University
United States

Leanne S. Son Hing

Fellow

Successful Societies
University of Guelph
Canada

Jane Jenson

Fellow

Successful Societies
Université de Montréal
Canada

Francesca Polletta

Fellow

Successful Societies
University of California Irvine
United States

Paige Raibmon

Fellow

Successful Societies
University of British Columbia
Canada

William H. Sewell

Fellow

Successful Societies
University of Chicago
United States

Prerna Singh

Fellow

Boundaries Membership & Belonging
Successful Societies
Brown University
United States

Anne E. Wilson

Fellow

Successful Societies
Wilfrid Laurier University
Canada
Advisors

Gérard Bouchard

Advisor

Successful Societies
Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
Canada

Wendy Espeland

Advisor

Successful Societies
Northwestern University
United States

Patrick Le Galès

Advisor

Successful Societies
Sciences Po
France

Hazel Markus

Advisor

Boundaries Membership & Belonging
Successful Societies
Stanford University
United States

Vijayendra Rao

Advisory Committee Chair
Advisor

Boundaries Membership & Belonging
Successful Societies
World Bank
United States

Peter Gourevitch

Advisory Committee Chair

Successful Societies
University of California San Diego
United States
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

Kristi Kenyon

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2017-2019

Successful Societies
University of Winnipeg
Canada

Kristin Laurin

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2017-2019

Successful Societies
University of British Columbia
Canada

Support Us

CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.

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