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Square image of Carnes

Square image of Carnes

Is There a Common Good? Exploring the Politics of Inequality

Matthew Carnes, S.J.

Matthew Carnes, S.J.


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Recent decades have seen an unprecedented decline in global poverty. Yet this progress has been accompanied by an increase in economic and social inequality, both internationally and domestically. What are the implications of this trend?  What does it mean to pursue the common good today? This lecture will draw on recent social science scholarship and Catholic social teaching to chart the promises and pitfalls facing global and local communities today.

Matthew Carnes, S.J., is an associate professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. His research examines the dynamics of labor and social welfare policy, with particular interest in the way societies protect their weakest and most vulnerable members; the old, the young, the ill or injured, and the unemployed. His principal regional focus is Latin America, and in recent years he has conducted extensive field research in Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia. Beyond his academic work, he has served for several extended periods of development and pastoral work in Ecuador, Paraguay, and Mexico.

Fr. Carnes’ teaching has been highly decorated. In 2011, he was awarded Georgetown’s Dorothy Brown Award for Outstanding Teaching Achievement. That same year, he was also awarded Georgetown’s Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Award for Faculty Excellence. In 2012, he was featured as one of the country’s best professors in the Princeton Review’s publication, 300 Best Professors, and in 2013, he was chosen by students as the Faculty Member of the Year in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Fr. Carnes is the author of Continuity Despite Change: The Politics of Labor Regulation in Latin America (Stanford University Press, 2014), and his research has appeared, or is forthcoming, in numerous academic journals including British Journal of Political Science, the Annual Review of Political Science, the Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics.

Fr. Carnes also has a deep connection to Santa Clara University, where, from 2003 to 2008, he lived as the Jesuit-in-Residence in Unity Hall. He has also served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees since 2014.


Feb 11, 2016
Bannan, ignatianleadership, BannanLectureArchives, Winter2016