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“Very Well Deserved”: Juliet Schor Named AAAS Fellow

When Juliet Schor first learned that the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) had named her as one of its 2022 fellows, she was shocked.

“I was pretty sure I hadn’t gotten it, and that was disappointing, but it’s not like I was expecting it,” Schor said. “So when I got the notification, it was a huge shock because such a long time had passed. So I was excited, for sure.” 

Schor, a Boston College sociology professor and economist, was elected under AAAS’ social, economic, and political sciences category for her teaching and research contributions.

Andrew Jorgenson, chair of BC’s sociology department, said Schor’s AAAS nomination was well-earned.

“I started crossing my fingers like ‘Okay, hopefully this will work out,’ and it did,” Jorgenson said. “It’s very well-deserved, and I’m very happy for [her].” 

After working primarily in the field of economics early in her career, Schor felt that her work and interests, specifically surrounding consumer culture, did not align with that of most economists. So, she decided to pursue a career in sociology. 

“So there wasn’t a big audience, and sociology was a much better place for that,” Schor said. “I was finding that my work was being read by a lot of sociologists and anthropologists and cultural studies.” 

Schor also said sociology is much more inclusive toward women compared to economics—especially when she first joined the field in the ’80s.

“In those days, I would walk into a seminar I taught at Harvard … there might be 30, 40 people there,” Schor said. “I’d be the only woman in the room. So sociology has much better gender diversity, and you don’t feel like a second-class citizen in sociology as a woman.” 

Schor said she felt validated to be inducted as an AAAS fellow in its social science section given her extensive experience in both sociology and economics.

Schor’s projects include a four-day week experiment, which involves company-run trials of shortened work weeks. The goal of the trials is to observe potential effects on employee relationships and carbon emissions.

Schor currently serves on the academic board of 4 Day Week Global, a non-profit that provides a platform for supporters of the four-day work week. The organization started drawing wide media attention when it began its world-wide pilot program in early 2022. 

“We’ve had really great results,” Schor said. “The trials have been really successful, and lots of benefits for employees [and] companies doing really well with it. So that’s been exciting.”

During her time at BC, Schor also served as a member of the University Core Renewal Committee, which helped shape a renewed core curriculum that focuses more on interdisciplinary courses.

“One of the things I really valued most about my time here was that I was on the committee that helped shape the renewed core,” Schor said. “And I have been teaching a renewed course, a complex problems course, since the beginning.”

Through her contributions to the field of social science, Jorgenson said Schor successfully bridges the gap between academia and civil society.

“She’s been a wonderful example, for me and for others, [of] how you can effectively kind of reach much broader audiences with your research and really have more of a real world impact with the work that you’re doing,” Jorgenson said. “She’s a role model for others in that sense.” 

February 12, 2023