UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Talk: "Property, Poverty and Recognition" by Professor Tom Kemple

27 April 2018, 5:00 pm–6:30 pm

Photo showing family and belongings sitting outside

We are joined by Professor Tom Kemple from the University of British Columbia tomorrow afternoon, 17:00 - 18:30, Chadwick Building, B05 Lecture Theatre, for his talk: "Property, Poverty and Recognition: Lessons from the Sociology of Cities and Suffering”

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UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Chadwick Building, B05 Lecture Theatre Gower Street London WC1E 6BT

This talk addresses the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, with a focus on how the moral obligations of wealthy individuals toward the poor give rise to distinct forms of social solidarity and personal freedom. How do people perceive their strangeness or otherness through interaction with others on the basis of their experiences of vulnerability and precariousness? The answer George Simmel (1856-1918) gave to this question ischallenging for today’s readers insofar as he emphasizes the liberty of individual members of social classes and the solidaritybetween classes over questions of social equality. His approach to the class conflicts of his day addresses the possibility of mutual recognition between rich and poor rather than the uneven distribution of wealth and resources. At the same time, his celebrated sociology of cities is at the same time a theory of collective stress and a philosophy of the experience of individual suffering. The talk also considers his arguments in light of his contemporaries (Park and Du Bois) and of some recent thinkers (Derrida and Fraser).

Thomas Kemple is author of Reading Marx Writing: Melodrama, the Market, and the ‘Grundrisse’ (Stanford 1995), Intellectual Work and the Spirit of Capitalism (Palgrave 2012), and numerous articles in the Journal of Classical Sociology and Theory, Culture & Society, and he is co-editor with Olli Pyyhtinen of The Anthem Companion to Georg Simmel (Anthem 2017). He is currently working on a ethnographic study of community-based university programs based in the city of Vancouver and in rural Guatemala. A co-edited collection with Mark Feathersone, Reading the Body Politic: A John O’Neill Reader will be published this year with Routledge, and his book on Simmel will appear later this year in Polity Press’s Classical Thinkers Series.