Document Type


Publication Date



Emerald (JAI Press)

Source Publication

Political Power and Social Theory

Source ISSN



Scholars who study humility tend to think of it in highly individualized terms, such as an absence of vanity or an accurate self-assessment. Individuating definitions can lead to such jarring concepts as the “humble white supremacist” (Roberts and Wood 2007). Qualitative sociological research in the (predominantly North American) evangelical movement to accept and affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) identities, same-sex marriage, and sex/gender transition reveals that humility is not simply the awareness that “I could be wrong.” That awareness is rooted in what we have found to be humility’s defining element, concern to foster relationship. These findings prompt us to define humility as a fundamentally social disposition, as concern to protect the kinds of intimate connection with others that can transform the self. Recognizing the social nature of humility reveals why humility is incompatible with injustice.


Accepted version. Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 36 (2019): 101-121. Publisher link. © 2019 Emerald (JAI Press). Used with permission.

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