Learning to Cooperate

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Host: The School of Life
Location: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Speaker: Richard Sennett, Alice Rawsthorn


Richard Sennett is among the most important social thinkers at work today. Tonight he talks with leading design critic Alice Rawsthorn about his latest book, Together (2012), on how we can repair the social fractures that divide us. 

We live in a time of increasing disconnection. Goodwill, Sennett says, isn’t enough to bridge the divide: we need special skills to get on and cooperate, and we’re losing them. To make his case, Sennett weaves together acute observations on situations as diverse as the ritual practices of Renaissance diplomats to the cooperative communities formed by former slaves to the role of isolated junior players in the banking crisis. 

But more than simply diagnosing the malaise, Sennett shows us the way through. Together is the second and latest work in his trilogy that began with The Craftsman (2008), which showed how we need to revalue craftsmanship as a template for a richer life. Together extends this theme to consider the craftsman’s workshop as an alternative social model. Sennett will talk with Rawsthorn about how that model will help us regain the skills to make and repair the bonds that connect us.

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