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Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation
Synopses & Reviews
In this provocative book Richard Sennett looks at the ways todays global, ever-mutable form of capitalism is affecting our lives. He analyzes how changes in work ethic, in our attitudes toward merit and talent, and in public and private institutions have all contributed to what he terms the specter of uselessness,” and he concludes with suggestions to counter this disturbing new culture.
Hardly any social thinkers have given serious thought to the drastic changes in corporate culture wrought by downsizing, re-orging, and outsourcing. Fortunately, the exception—Richard Sennett—is also one of the most insightful public intellectuals we have. In The Culture of the New Capitalism Sennett addresses the new corporate culture with his usual vast erudition, endlessly supple intellect, and firm moral outlook. The result is brilliant, disturbing, and absolutely necessary reading.”—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
[Sennett] has brilliantly pushed his thinking. . . . [A] triumph.”—Will Hutton, The Observer
Reflective, studded with sharp insights, moving with grace between big ideas and specific cases. This is vintage Sennett.”—Douglas W. Rae, author of City: Urbanism and Its End
Packed with thought. . . . Profound and challenging. . . . [I am] full of admiration for the subtlety and originality of Richard Sennetts work.”—Madeleine Bunting, New Statesman
"'Cooperation can be defined...as an exchange in which the participants benefit from the encounter.' Given that, what are the impacts of trends that reduce cooperation, such as class segregation in income and locales, temporary jobs in place of lifelong careers, and the 'tribal' political divide? Citing current and historical sources, as well as providing numerous examples and anecdotes, NYU and London School of Economics sociology professor Sennett (The Craftsman) explores the origins of cooperation, the myriad factors that have led (and lead) to its erosion — making it 'less open, less dialogic' — and its impact on society. Sennet argues that changes in the 'social triangle...of earned authority, mutual respect and cooperation during a crisis,' have resulted in an uncooperative character type who is becoming more common in modern society, one who — in search of 'reassuring solidarity amid economic insecurity' — acts according to the 'brutally simple' paradigm of 'us-against-them coupled with you-are-on-your-own.' Sennett concludes with skills that can enhance cooperation and community, citing a 'repair' workshop as a useful metaphor for a cooperative society. Although Sennett's writing is engaging and he provides an interesting perspective on modern society, his final call for a commitment to community is a weak ending to an otherwise compelling study. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A provocative and disturbing look at the ways new economic facts are shaping our personal and social values.
In his most ambitious book to date, Richard Sennett offers an original perspective on craftsmanship and its close connections to work and ethical values
In this sequel to his influential work The Craftsman, Richard Sennett explores how we can learn to cooperate in the intensely tribal, competitive, and self-interested cultures we inhabit
The highly respected author of The Craftsman now explores how we can create a better society by learning to truly listen and cooperate with others, even when our interests are conflicting.
Living with people who differand#8212;racially, ethnically, religiously, or economicallyand#8212;is the most urgent challenge facing civil society today. We tend socially to avoid engaging with people unlike ourselves, and modern politics encourages the politics of the tribe rather than of the city. In this thought-provoking book, Richard Sennett discusses why this has happened and what might be done about it.
Sennett contends that cooperation is a craft, and the foundations for skillful cooperation lie in learning to listen well and discuss rather than debate. In Together he explores how people can cooperate online, on street corners, in schools, at work, and in local politics. He traces the evolution of cooperative rituals from medieval times to today, and in situations as diverse as slave communities, socialist groups in Paris, and workers on Wall Street. Divided into three parts, the book addresses the nature of cooperation, why it has become weak, and how it could be strengthened. The author warns that we must learn the craft of cooperation if we are to make our complex society prosper, yet he reassures usand#160;that we can do this, for the capacity for cooperation is embedded in human nature.
Defining craftsmanship far more broadly than skilled manual labor,” Richard Sennett maintains that the computer programmer, the doctor, the artist, and even the parent and citizen engage in a craftsmans work. Craftsmanship names the basic human impulse to do a job well for its own sake, says the author, and good craftsmanship involves developing skills and focusing on the work rather than ourselves. In this thought-provoking book, one of our most distinguished public intellectuals explores the work of craftsmen past and present, identifies deep connections between material consciousness and ethical values, and challenges received ideas about what constitutes good work in todays world.
The Craftsman engages the many dimensions of skill—from the technical demands to the obsessive energy required to do good work. Craftsmanship leads Sennett across time and space, from ancient Roman brickmakers to Renaissance goldsmiths to the printing presses of Enlightenment Paris and the factories of industrial London; in the modern world he explores what experiences of good work are shared by computer programmers, nurses and doctors, musicians, glassblowers, and cooks. Unique in the scope of his thinking, Sennett expands previous notions of crafts and craftsmen and apprises us of the surprising extent to which we can learn about ourselves through the labor of making physical things.
About the Author
Richard Sennett teaches sociology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the London School of Economics. His recent publications include The Corrosion of Character and Respect in a World of Inequality.
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