Lancaster public lecture addresses global social inequalities

Dr Eleanor Power, wearing a blue blouse, stands in front of a blue background

A leading social scientist will examine how people can become stuck in poverty at one of Lancaster University Management School’s highlight public lectures.

Dr Eleanor Power will deliver the annual Esmée Fairbairn Lecture, hosted by Lancaster’s Department of Economics.

The talk, open to members of the public, as well as Lancaster University students, researchers, and alumni, will focus on “Reputational poverty traps” and the reproduction of social inequality in South Asia and the world. It takes place on Wednesday, November 1, starting at 5pm.

“In South-East India, just like in England, understanding why people stay poor and what can be done about it remains an incredibly important issue,” said Dr Renaud Foucart, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics in LUMS. “We are pleased to welcome Dr Power here to Lancaster. She is one of these rare truly interdisciplinary social scientists able to talk to academic economists and anthropologists alike, and I am sure her talk will provide captivating insight.”

Dr Power is an anthropologist, Associate Professor in the Department of Methodology at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and an external Professor at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. She holds a PhD from Stanford University.

Her work investigates the dynamics of social networks, especially relative to the factors that influence cooperation, competition, trust, and prestige. She studies these dynamics through fieldwork conducted in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

More generally, Dr Power is interested in investigating questions regarding the role of religion in society, gender differences in prominence and social capital, the dynamics of gossip and social censure, and the interplay of social and economic inequality.

Her ongoing projects include a cross-cultural investigation into the social drivers of wealth inequality; and a study into how people’s identities and social position influence how they are perceived by others, and so how they consequently choose to act in the world.

Lancaster University's Department of Economics has organised the Esmée Fairbairn Lecture Series – funded through support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation – since 1981, attracting eminent speakers from business, politics, think tanks, the media and academia.

To register for the event, please click here:

For further information on the Esmée Fairbairn Lecture, please contact Dr Renaud Foucart via email to

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