(noun) A system that fosters and rewards personal effort, ability, and talent through competition to determine social standing.
Audio Pronunciation: (mer·i·toc·ra·cy)
Download Audio Pronunciation: meritocracy.mp3
- Plural: meritocracies
- Coined by Michael Young (1915–2002) in The Rise of the Meritocracy, 1870-2033: An Essay on Education and Equality (1958).
- A type of organization.
- A (noun) meritocrat advocates (adjective) meritocratic principles.
- “In the image of the American Dream, America is the land of opportunity. Presumably, if you work hard enough and are talented enough, you can overcome any obstacle and achieve success. No matter where you start out in life, the sky is ostensibly the limit. According to the promise implied by the American Dream, you can go as far as your talents and abilities can take you” (McNamee and Miller 2013:1).
- “While ‘merit’ is characteristic of individuals, ‘meritocracy’ is a characteristic of societies as a whole” (McNamee and Miller 2013:1).
- Word origin of “meritocracy” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Arrow, Kenneth Joseph, Samuel Bowles, and Steven N. Durlauf, eds. 2000. Meritocracy and Economic Inequality. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- Johnson, Heather Beth. 2006. The American Dream and the Power of Wealth: Choosing Schools and Inheriting Inequality in the Land of Opportunity. London: Routledge.
- Ornstein, Allan C. 2007. Class Counts: Education, Inequality, and the Shrinking Middle Class. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Perrucci, Robert, and Earl Wysong. 2003. The New Class Society: Goodbye American Dream? 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Popular Press and Blogs:
- The Birth of Meritocracy: Michael Young, The Rise of the Meritocracy and Post-War British Politics: discoversociety.org
- FOCUS: Merit and Meritocracy: discoversociety.org
- The ‘Gift’ of Meritocracy: The Rise (and Fall?) of the Academies Programme: https://discoversociety.org
- Meritocratic Rhetorics: Merit, Performance and Hard Work: discoversociety.org
- On The Frontline: Everyday Privilege: Some Reflections on Meritocracy in Higher Education: discoversociety.org
- VIEWPOINT: The Rise of the Meritocracy: On Speculation and Sociology: discoversociety.org
McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd. ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.