A fresh exploration of one of the oldest conundrums facing social theory, which is how cooperation between people is forged and maintained (Frank Furedi Times Higher Education)
To call this captivating writer an academic sociologist makes as much, or as little, sense as labelling Mozart a court musician ... Eclectic, ecumenical, Sennett leads us with charm and candour down his chosen routes to renovation (Boyd Tonkin The Independent)
Together is a profound mediation on how humans act as social animals, and an inspiring call for us all to try and embrace differences of tribe, religion and class (Ian Critchley Sunday Times)
The book offers an artisanal response to a post-industrial condition ... In this sense, Sennett is a true heir to John Ruskin and William Morris (Terry Eagleton Times Literary Supplement)
Richard Sennett's new book is an excellent resource to help us [work with others], and what shines through it is Sennett's own humanity. He is an excellent scholar and a very agile thinker ... this is a book that should be widely read (Kester Brewin Third Way)
Co-operation is hard because it is about learning to live with people who think differently or don't know what they think at all. Sennett wants to remind us that this is a skill, and like any skill it takes patience and practice (David Runciman The Guardian)
Living with people who differ -- racially, ethnically, religiously, or economically -- is one of the most difficult challenges facing us today. Though our society is becoming ever more complicated materially, we tend to avoid engaging with people unlike ourselves. Modern politics emphasizes unity and similarity, encouraging the politics of the tribe rather than of complexity. Together: the rituals, pleasures and politics of Co-operation explores why this has happened and what might be done about it.
Sennett argues that living with people unlike ourselves requires more than goodwill: it requires skill. The foundations for skillful 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.
Together traces the evolution of cooperative rituals in medieval churches and guilds, Renaissance workshops and courts, early modern laboratories and diplomatic embassies. In our lives today, it explains the trials and prospects of cooperation online, face-to-face in ethnic conflicts, among financial workers and community organizers.
Exploring the nature of cooperation, why it has become weak, and how it could be strengthened, this visionary book offers a new way of seeing how humans can live together.