Cultural anthropologist and thought leader Grant McCracken proposes a radical solution for our time of unprecedented scandal: a return to honor.
What used to be shocking has somehow become the new normal in our politics, workplaces, and universities. Sexual predators stalk interns at work and teenagers abroad. Parents try to buy a place for their kids in college. Pharmaceutical companies refuse to acknowledge the Opioid epidemic they helped create. Banks issue credit cards no one ordered, ruining the credit scores and reputations of thousands. It happens so frequently that we can no longer dismiss these cases as a few bad apples. Clearly, something in the system is rotten.
Most Americans are committed to morality. We share basic standards of decency. And yet, we’re becoming inured to scandal and shame, and hopeless about the possibility of change. What if we decided to fight it instead?
Grant McCracken has a solution—the revival of an ancient idea called honor. Once the moral compass of millions of people for hundreds of years, it has since fallen out of currency just when we need it the most. Grant looks at honor and dishonor as these are expressed in popular culture and at institutions as diverse as Harvard, PBS, and Wells Fargo. He offers practical guidelines for both organizations and individuals looking to restore moral order to their lives.
Grant McCracken is a cultural anthropologist. He holds a PhD from the University of Chicago. He was the founder of the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum, and a cofounder of the Artisanal Economies Project. Grant has taught at Harvard, the University of Cambridge, and MIT. He advises a wide variety of companies and individuals, including Google, Netflix, Nike, the Ford Foundation, Kanye West, the Boston Book Festival, and the White House (no, the other one). He lives in Connecticut with his wife and three cats.