Successful Societies

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About this program

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.

Program at a Glance

Founded

2002

Members

20

Renewal Dates

2008, 2012

Supporters

  • BMO Financial Group
  • Anonymous Donor

Disciplines

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

Program Details

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.



A detail from the cover of the book Successful Societies, edited by program co-directors Peter A. Hall and Michèle Lamont.

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


Program fellows & advisors

Program Co-Directors

michelelamont
Michèle Lamont
Program Co-Director

Michèle Lamont studies inequality, race and ethnicity, the evaluation of social science knowledge, and the impact of neoliberalism on advanced industrial societies. Her scholarly interests center on shared concepts of worth and excellence and their impact on hierarchies in a number of social domains.

Bio Outline
Paul Pierson
Program Co-Director

Paul Pierson’s teaching and research includes the fields of American politics and public policy, comparative political economy, and social theory.

Fellows

SS_AnneWilson

Anne E. Wilson

  • Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Canada
SS_DavidGrusky

David B. Grusky

  • Senior Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • Stanford University
  • United States
SS_FrancescaPolletta

Francesca Polletta

  • Senior Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • University of California Irvine
  • United States
SS_IreneBloemraad

Irene Bloemraad

  • Senior Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • University of California Berkeley
  • United States
SS_JaneJenson

Jane Jenson

  • Associate Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • Université de Montréal
  • Canada
Bio Outline

Leanne S. Son Hing

  • Senior Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • University of Guelph
  • Canada
SS_PaigeRaibmon

Paige Raibmon

  • Senior Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada
SS_PeterHall

Peter A. Hall

  • Associate Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • Harvard University
  • United States
SS_PrernaSingh

Prerna Singh

  • Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • Brown University
  • United States
SS_WillKymlicka

Will Kymlicka

  • Senior Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • Queen's University
  • Canada
Bio Outline

William H. Sewell

  • Associate Fellow
  • Successful Societies
  • University of Chicago
  • United States

Advisors

SS_GerardBouchard

Gérard Bouchard

  • Advisor
  • Successful Societies
  • Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
  • Canada
SS_HazelMarkus

Hazel Markus

  • Advisor
  • Successful Societies
  • Stanford University
  • United States
SS_PatrickGales

Patrick Le Galès

  • Advisor
  • Successful Societies
  • Sciences Po
  • France
Bio Outline

Peter Gourevitch

  • Advisory Committee Chair
  • Successful Societies
  • University of California San Diego
  • United States
SS_RaoVijayendra

Vijayendra Rao

  • Advisor
  • Successful Societies
  • World Bank
  • United States
SS_Espeland

Wendy Espeland

  • Advisor
  • Successful Societies
  • Northwestern University
  • United States

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

SS_KristiKenyon

Kristi Kenyon

  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar
  • Successful Societies
  • University of Winnipeg
  • Canada
SS_KristinLaurin

Kristin Laurin

  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar
  • Successful Societies
  • University of British Columbia
  • Canada