Richard Sennett


Born
in Chicago, The United States
January 01, 1943

Website

Genre

Influences


Richard Sennett has explored how individuals and groups make social and cultural sense of material facts -- about the cities in which they live and about the labour they do. He focuses on how people can become competent interpreters of their own experience, despite the obstacles society may put in their way. His research entails ethnography, history, and social theory. As a social analyst, Mr. Sennett continues the pragmatist tradition begun by William James and John Dewey.

His first book, The Uses of Disorder, [1970] looked at how personal identity takes form in the modern city. He then studied how working-class identities are shaped in modern society, in The Hidden Injuries of Class, written with Jonathan Cobb. [1972] A study of the public
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Average rating: 3.91 · 4,694 ratings · 406 reviews · 39 distinct worksSimilar authors
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The Hidden Injuries of Class

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Respect in a World of Inequ...

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Building and Dwelling: Ethi...

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The Conscience of the Eye: ...

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“Craftsmanship names an enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake.”
Richard Sennett, The Craftsman

“Issac Stern rule: the better your technique, the more impossible your standards.”
Richard Sennett, The Craftsman

“The reigning belief today is that closeness between persons is a moral good. The reigning aspiration today is to develop individual personality through experiences of closeness and warmth with others. The reigning myth today is that the evils of society can all be understood as evils of impersonality, alienation, and coldness. The sum of these three is an ideology of intimacy: social relationships of all kinds are real, believable, and authentic the closer they approach the inner psychological concerns of each person. This ideology transmutes political categories into psychological categories. This ideology of intimacy defines the humanitarian spirit of a society without gods: warmth is our god. The history of the rise and fall of public culture at the very least calls this humanitarian spirit into question. The belief in closeness between persons as a moral good is in fact the product of a profound dislocation which capitalism and secular belief produced in the last century. Because of this dislocation, people sought to find personal meanings in impersonal situations, in objects, and in the objective conditions of society itself. They could not find these meanings; as the world became psychomorphic, it became mystifying. They therefore sought to flee, and find in the private realms of life, especially in the family, some principle of order in the perception of personality. Thus the past built a hidden desire for stability in the overt desire for closeness between human beings. Even as we have revolted against the stern sexual rigidities of the Victorian family, we continue to burden close relations with others with these hidden desires for security, rest, and permanence. When the relations cannot bear these burdens, we conclude there is something wrong with the relationship, rather than with the unspoken expectations. Arriving at a feeling of closeness to others is thus often after a process of testing them; the relationship is both close and closed. If it changes, if it must change, there is a feeling of trust betrayed. Closeness burdened with the expectation of stability makes emotional communication—hard enough as it is—one step more difficult. Can intimacy on these terms really be a virtue?”
Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man

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