World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Richard Sennett

Richard Sennett
Born (1943-01-01) January 1, 1943
Chicago, Illinois
Fields Sociology
Academic advisors David Riesman, Erik Erikson, Oscar Handlin
Known for Studies of social ties in cities
Influences Hannah Arendt
Spouse Saskia Sassen

Richard Sennett (born 1 January 1943) is the Centennial Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and University Professor of the Humanities at New York University. Sennett has studied social ties in cities, and the effects of urban living on individuals in the modern world.

He has been a Fellow of The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Royal Society of Literature. He is the founding director of the New York Institute for the Humanities. In 2006 Sennett was the winner of the Hegel Prize awarded by the German city of Stuttgart,[1] and in 2008 was awarded the Gerda Henkel Prize, worth 100,000 Euros, by the Gerda Henkel Foundation of Düsseldorf, Germany.[2]

He is married to sociologist Saskia Sassen since 1987.[3]


  • Biography 1
  • Selected works 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Richard Sennett grew up in the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago,[3] coming from a family of Russian emigres. As a child he trained in music, studying the cello and conducting, working with Claus Adam of the Juilliard String Quartet and the conductor Pierre Monteux. When a hand injury put an end to his musical career, he entered academic life. He trained with David Riesman, Erik Erikson, and Oscar Handlin at Harvard, graduating with his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization in 1969. His intellectual life as an urbanist came into focus during the time he spent as a fellow of the Joint Center for Urban Studies of Harvard and MIT.[4]

Sennett's scholarly writing centers on the development of cities, the nature of work in modern society, and the sociology of culture. Families Against the City, his earliest book, examines the relation between family and work in 19th Century Chicago. A subsequent quartet of books explores urban life more largely: The Uses of Disorder, an essay about identity formation in cities; The Fall of Public Man, a history of public culture and public space, particularly in London, Paris, and New York in the 18th and 19th Centuries; The Conscience of the Eye, a study of how Renaissance urban design passed into modern city planning, and Flesh and Stone, an overview of the design of cities from ancient to modern times.

Another quartet of books is devoted to labor. The Hidden Injuries of Class is a study of class consciousness among working-class families in Boston; The Corrosion of Character explores how new forms of work are changing people's communal and personal experience; Respect probes the relation of work and reforms of the welfare system. The Culture of the New Capitalism provides an overview of these changes. Authority is an essay in political theory; it addresses the tools of interpretation by which people recast raw power into either legitimate or illegitimate authority.

Sennett currently is working on a project called 'Homo Faber,' exploring material ways of making culture. The first book in this series is The Craftsman, published in 2008; subsequent volumes are Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation, published in 2012, and a future volume on the making of the urban environment.[5]

In the public realm, Sennett founded, and directed for a decade, the New York Institute of the Humanities at New York University. Sennett then chaired a United Nations commission on urban development and design. As president of the American Council on Work, Sennett led a forum, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, for researchers trying to understand the changing pattern of American labor. Most recently he helped create, and has chaired, the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics. In 2006 he served as Chair of the jury of the Venice Biennale.

Sennett's literary hobby is writing about music, including novels with musical themes.

Selected works

  • Nineteenth Century Cities: Essays In The New Urban History, coauthor, Yale (1969)
  • Classic Essays On The Culture Of Cities, editor (1969), ISBN 0-13-135194-X
  • The Uses of Disorder: Personal Identity & City Life (1970), ISBN 0-393-30909-6
  • Families Against the City: Middle Class Homes of Industrial Chicago, 1872-1890, Harvard (1970), ISBN 0-674-29226-X
  • The Hidden Injuries of Class, with Jonathan Cobb, Knopf (1972), ISBN 0-393-31085-X
  • The Fall of Public Man, Knopf (1977), ISBN 0-14-100757-5
  • Authority (1980), ISBN 0-571-16189-8
  • The Conscience of the Eye: The design and social life of cities, Faber and Faber (1991), ISBN 0-393-30878-2
  • Flesh and Stone: The Body And The City In Western Civilization, Norton (1994), ISBN 0-393-31391-3
  • The Corrosion of Character, The Personal Consequences Of Work In the New Capitalism, Norton (1998), ISBN 0-393-31987-3
  • Respect in a World of Inequality, Penguin (2003), ISBN 0-393-32537-7
  • The Culture of the New Capitalism, Yale (2006), ISBN 0-300-11992-5
  • The Craftsman, Allen Lane (2008), ISBN 978-0-7139-9873-3
  • The Foreigner: Two Essays on Exile, Notting Hill (2011), ISBN 1-907903-08-9
  • Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation, Yale (2012), ISBN 0-300-11633-0


  • The Frog Who Dared to Croak (1982), ISBN 0-374-15884-3
  • An Evening of Brahms (1984)
  • Palais-Royal (1986), ISBN 0-393-31251-8


  1. ^ LSE: "Richard Sennett wins prestigious Hegel Prize", 30 November 2006
  2. ^ "Richard Sennett nimmt Gerda Henkel Preis 2008 entgegen - Wolfgang Frühwald: 'Es gibt in der Literatur einen Sennett-Ton'" (German)
  3. ^ a b Melissa Benn: "Inner-city scholar" in The Guardian, 3 February 2001
  4. ^ London School of Economics: "Professor Richard Sennett", retrieved 25 May 2013
  5. ^ David Runciman: "Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-operation by Richard Sennett – review", in The Guardian, 3 February 2012

External links

  • Official website
  • LSE faculty profile
  • : Richard SennettGuardian
  • Article (09/2005)
  • Article (02/2001)
  • Interview (01/2006)
  • BBC (01/2006)
  • Guantánamo in Germany (with Saskia Sassen) in The Guardian, 21 August 2007 (concerning arrest of German sociologist charged of being "mastermind" of the Militante gruppe)
  • Discussion on Craft and skills
  • NewYork Times Book Review (April 6, 2008)
  • Audio: Richard Sennett in conversation on the BBC World Service discussion show The Forum
  • Richard Sennett, No one likes a city that's too smart, 4 December 2012
  • Audio: We have lost the balance between cooperation and competition, L.I.S.A.interview 12 July 2012
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.