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DPE Tuesday Talk Series: Michael McLendon, “The Psychology of Inequality: Rousseau’s ‘Amour-Propre’”

The Division of Politics and Economics invites the CGU community to attend this week’s Tuesday Lunch Talk featuring Michael McLendon, California State University, Los Angeles. Lunch will be provided.

Michael McLendon

Michael L. McLendon is chair and professor of political science at California State University, Los Angeles, where he has been teaching courses in political theory since 2003. He earned his BA at the University of Wisconsin, his MA at Columbia University, and his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on the role of emotions in modern to late modern political thought. He is the author of The Psychology of Inequality: Rousseau’s “Amour-Propre” (University of Pennsylvania Press) as well as several articles and book chapters on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Alexis de Tocqueville and Jean-Paul Sartre. His work as appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, European Journal of Political Theory, Polity, Journal of Politics, and The Review of Politics. Before arriving at CSULA, he taught at Trinity College (Hartford, CT) and the University of Texas at Austin.

Talk title: The Psychology of Inequality: Rousseau’s ‘Amour-Propre’

Talk Description:
Through his concept of amour-propre Rousseau argues that inequality is primarily a psychological problem. While he accepts that inequality corrupts the personalities of rich and poor alike, his main concern is that those occupying the top rungs of the socio-economic ladder will believe themselves to be innately superior to the rest of the population. Such a belief, he worries, can easily lead to a desire to be cruel and dominate the weaker personalities in society.

More information about the DPE Tuesday Talk Series can be found here.