About this event


  • Venue: Online event
  • Date: Tuesday 15th June 2021
  • Time: 4.30 – 5.30pm GST


About the Seminar:

Workers’ talent, properly managed, is the new currency of global meritocracy, either in its exclusive or inclusive rationale. It is seen as the major driver of success in societies experiencing rising income inequalities, job polarization, global mobility of the skilled workforce. Its causal contribution is widely invoked in undertakings that combine outcome uncertainty and highly individualized ascription of performance. Yet, due to substantial definitional issues, the content and effectiveness of that factor remain obscure. Sociology, in its constructionist mood, preferably tends to merely debunk self-heroizing notions like talent and creativity. At the apex of the debunking scale lies the Marxian superinclusive view of talent, which amounts to the capacity of acting in an unhindered way, and ends up in steady self-realization. It is worth investigating into which contradictions that undertaking runs, in order to detect the main cog of a counterfactual model. An alternative model may well start with essentially indeterminate or even negligible ability differences and end up with enormous gaps in success. Instead of erasing all individual heterogeneity, that model allows us to open the black box, and redefine talent as the holistic label for a multifactorial set of determinants interacting in a multiplicative way. Support to the resulting model comes from various strands of research. The conclusive part deals with talent management in firms and organizations and the Gaussian vs Paretian distribution of individual productivity. Prof Menger will show how a superexclusive valuation of talent has emerged, that tries to legitimize overtly Paretian pay-for-performance schemes of compensation.


About the Speaker:

Pierre-Michel Menger studied philosophy and sociology at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and earned his Ph.D. at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in 1980. He has been senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Paris) before joining the Collège de France, where he holds the Chair of Sociology of Creative Work since 2013. A member of the Academia of Europaea, he is also professor (directeur d’études) at the Paris Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. His current research focuses on the global competition for talents, careers and stratification in research and higher education, and meritocracy and its discontents.

Pierre-Michel Menger is the author or co-author of sixteen books, and has published numerous articles in journals such as Revue française de Sociologie, Sociologie du travail, L’Année Sociologique, Annales, Annual Review of Sociology, Poetics, Revue française d’économie, Revue Economique. He has been the editor of the Revue française de Sociologie and is currently a member of the editorial board of the Revue Economique and Revue française de gestion. His Economics of creativity has been published by Harvard University Press in 2014.


FRANCE-SINGAPORE SCIENCE AND INNOVATION LECTURE SERIES : Jointly presented by the Embassy of France in Singapore, the Collège de France and the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF) and in partnership with Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL), this lecture series is part of the activities of the Joint Committee for Science and Innovation (JCSI) France-Singapore.


Join us for an online seminar by Professor Pierre-Michel Menger, Chair of Sociology of Creative Work at the Collège de France (Paris)


If you missed it, don’t worry you will be able to watch the recording in replay here: