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Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-operation


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Speaker(s): Professor Richard Sennett
Chair: Dr Fran Tonkiss

Recorded on 6 February 2012 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

Living with people who differ – racially, ethnically, religiously, or economically – is one of the most difficult challenges facing us today. Modern politics emphasises unity and similarity, encouraging the politics of the tribe rather than of complexity. Richard Sennett argues that living with people unlike ourselves requires more than goodwill: it requires skill. The foundations for skilful co-operation lie in learning to listen well and to discuss rather than debate. People who develop these capacities earn a reward: they can take pleasure in the company of others. Sennett discusses how we can strengthen cooperation online, face-to-face in ethnic conflicts, among financial workers and community organisers.

This event marks the publication of Sennett's new book Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-operation.

Richard Sennett retired in 2011 as University Professor at NYU and academic governor and Professor of Sociology at the LSE. He has won numerous international prizes, and was most recently awarded the Spinoza Prize for outstanding contributions to public debate on morality. Together forms part of a three-book project on 'homo faber', focusing on the skills human beings possess to make a life together; the first volume, The Craftsman, was published in 2008. He is the author of many celebrated books including The Fall of Public Man and The Corrosion of Character.

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