And Dignity For All with Robert Fuller, Ph.D.

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We've all felt the sting of rankism - at the hands of a dictatorial boss, a condescending teacher, an arrogant doctor, or an imperious bureaucrat. And most of us have inflicted it on someone else. We are, all of us, both victims and perpetrators of rankism, and Robert Fuller argues that it's time for a novel, all-encompassing strategy to confront it in all its guises. Advocating a "dignitarian" society, he shows how dignity can be broadly protected in our professional and political institutions as well as in our personal lives. "Just as a civil rights movement took on racism, and the feminist movement takes on sexism, so the dignitarian movement takes on rankism." Robert Fuller looks at life through a provocative and unusual lens, cogently arguing the case for redesigning our social institutions to create a dignitarian society. (hosted by Bec Kageyama)


Robert Fuller, Ph.D. is a physicist and former president of Oberlin College. He has consulted with Indira Gandhi, met with Jimmy Carter regarding the President's Commission on World Hunger, and worked to defuse the Cold War in Russia when it was known as the USSR. As Fuller reflected on his career he realized that he had been, at different times in his life, a somebody and a nobody. His periodic sojourns into “Nobodyland” led him to identify rankism - the abuse of the power inherent in rank - and ultimately to write the book Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank. He has become a recognized leader of the dignity movement to overcome rankism and keynoted a Dignity for All conference hosted by the President of Bangladesh. His many other accomplishments include co-authoring the text book Mathematics of Classical and Quantum Physics.

Robert Fuller’s books include:

To view a video about the work of Robert W. Fuller click here, or go to his website:

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Why is a society filled with dignity fundamental to your life?
  • How can you become involved in the Dignitarian Movement?
  • What does modeling have to do with maintaining dignity?
  • When is too much recognition a bad thing?
  • What is a dignitarian impact report?
  • How can a dignitarian movement be a possible alternative to war?
  • When is liberty harmful?
Host: Bec Kageyama      Interview Date: 5/16/2006      Program Number: 3152