A resource for institutional design
It is an honour to have been asked to deliver the 2004 Cunningham Lecture. I know people always say that sort of thing; but on this occasion I say it not just in deference to the conventions of politeness (which I may later violate anyway) but also with a certain ‘special intellectual intent’. Because honour, glory, fame, regard, approval – and their corresponding opposites – dishonour, contempt, shame, disregard, disapproval – constitute the theme of this lecture. My interest in this family of phenomena is not just as objects of social analysis in their own right, but more especially in the normative possibilities they offer – their possible role as a resource in institutional design.
I shall generally use the term ‘esteem’ to stand for the whole family. I don’t deny that there are distinctions to be drawn between, say, esteem and approval, or between esteem and fame. But I also don’t want here to engage in fine-grained logic-chopping – so I hope that I will be forgiven if I suspend a lot of relevant distinctions in the interests of painting on a slightly larger canvas.