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Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation Hardcover – January 17, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0300116335 ISBN-10: 0300116330 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


“A whirlwind of big ideas. Sennett is a worthy warrior, armed with abundant evidence of our better natures.”—Connie Schultz, Washington Post
(Connie Schultz Washington Post)

“This humane work is broad in scope and will be of interest to sociologists, political scientists, and curious readers seeking hope for pursuing a more cooperative society.”—Library Journal (Library Journal)

“I envy any reader coming fresh to Sennett's work. Over four decades, his books have grown, volume by expert, companionable, readable volume, into a comprehensive diagnosis of the ailments of urban life and work, together with a series of hard-headed, historically rooted prescriptions for rescue and reform.”—Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
(Boyd Tonkin The Independent)

"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's writing is engaging and he provides an interesting perspective on modern society."—Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly)

Winner of the Zócalo Public Square Book Prize, awarded by the Center for Social Cohesion
(Zócalo Public Square Book Prize Zócalo Public Square 2012-03-19)

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the North America category
(Choice Outstanding Academic Title Choice 2011-06-08)

From the Author

Praise for Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman

"In The Craftsman [Sennett] compellingly explores the universe of skilled work, where 'the desire to do a job well done for its own sake' still flourishes."—Brian C. Anderson, Wall Street Journal


"An inquiring, intelligent look at how the work of the hand informs the work of the mind."—New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)


"A far-roving intellectual adventure."—Julian Bell, New York Review of Books


“Richard Sennett is a prime observer of society. . . . One of his great strengths, the thing that makes his narrative so gripping, is the sheer range of his thinking and his brilliance in relating the past to the present.”—Fiona MacCarthy, The Guardian


“[A] powerful meditation on the ‘skill of making things well.’ ”—New Yorker



Praise for Richard Sennett’s The Culture of the New Capitalism


"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 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



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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300116330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300116335
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Martina A. Nicolls on January 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Can the world learn from tribalism? Can we learn community cooperation and social cohesion? The tribal conflict over cattle rustling in Pibor, South Sudan, has resulted in attacks and reprisals between two main communities, the Lou Nuer and the Murle. Tribal tensions are not new, and have been a feature of Sudan, and other countries, for centuries. Can other countries, or more importantly, individuals, learn from tribal conflict?

Richard Sennett's Together: The rituals, pleasures and politics of cooperation (2012)contends that "living with people who differ--racially, ethnically, religiously, or economically--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 Together he traces the evolution of cooperative rituals 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. Sennett also maintains that the capacity for cooperation is embedded in human nature.

Sennett is alarmed by the way societies develop tribalism within their ranks and the way in which this "deeply ingrained tribalism" can lead to aggression towards people who are perceived to be "different" from their own culture, background, race, community, or group. Sennett is concerned about modern capitalist societies that, he says, promote social withdrawal (hibernation, loneliness, solitude, and hermitude). Sennett details some causes of social withdrawal such as economic inequality, the breakdown of workplace relations, and the psychological effects of living in an uncertain world.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Philippe Vandenbroeck VINE VOICE on August 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In this stimulating book Richard Sennett investigates how people who have conflicting interests, are unequal or don't understand each other might engage in `difficult', constructive cooperation. Sennett's view is that cooperation rests on a set of skills - he refers to them as `dialogic skills' - that can be learned and have to be sustained. Our contemporary society has been weakening those skills in distinctive ways. Increasing economic inequalities translate in everyday experiences of elites becoming ever more remote from the masses. This engenders an `us-against-them' thinking that stands in the way of cooperative behavior. The contemporary workplace - with its siloed structures, short-term commitments and lack of accountability - has progressively dissolved the `social triangle' (earned authority, mutual respect, cooperation during crisis) that infuse the work experience with an essential civility.

The notion of civility is pivotal in Sennett's argument. He traces its origins back to a sea-change in sociable behaviour in 16th century Europe, away from the chivalric values that were tightly woven into the fabric of aristocratic life to a set of civilized codes that were rooted in skilled, professional conduct. Early Reformation diplomacy and the replacement of guild hierarchy by a flatter, more flexible workshop structure are key developments that laid the foundation for this new ethics of sociability.

In investigating how we might reinvigorate our capacity for cooperation today, Sennett revisits the artisan's workshop.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Wyrtzen on July 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sennett's premise is that we need to listen to other people, giving them space to develop their thought, and to attempt to understand its meaning to them. The goal is to understand the other person and their point of view not to accept it or change them. We don't need a homogenized society. We need one where we can understand the other without agreeing or forcing them to agree. He looks at the use of this open system thinking in many different periods of history and institutions. It is a wonderful corrective to our "us/them" society.
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By sanulan on March 1, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Magistrak Sennett como siempre
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4 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Ian Johnson on February 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation

This book is unfortunately structured and edited. Yes, Sennett describes collaboration and co-operation, and how it is a craft that we could benefit from studying, learning, and applying in our lives. But, in that case, it should be useful as an instruction manual, instead of being written as a featureless academic monologue, with few headings and no summaries, action points, diagrams, or other helpful tools. What is needed is either a complete re-write, or a 50 page workbook that presents the essential points in a useful manner. Sorry Richard, I appreciate your wisdom, I just wished that it was communicated in a more readable and useful fashion.
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