Working Together

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Richard Sennett, distinguished visiting scholar of the University of Cambridge, and author of Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation, argues that working together is a craft that can be strengthened. He explores the nature of cooperation and why it is undervalued as a skill.



Richard Sennett

Comments [12]

Lee from Manhattan

I was unable to comment during the segment, but had an experience that changed my life. I wish we could figure out how to arrange for everyone in my position to have a similar one.
As a white, upper-middle class, relatively attractive woman I had never experienced discrimination of any kind. Having married a Jewish man and travelling to Israel where everyone is assumed to be Jewish, I heard the first bigoted statements against "goyim". I was shocked and hurt for the first time in my life and finally understood first hand how it felt to be disliked, looked down on, etc. *for things I could do nothing about*. Though I'd been a leftist, working with multicultural institutions for years, this experience was the way I really understood for the first time.

Mar. 28 2013 11:40 AM

I had a similar experience in the same neighborhood and time as the caller. I'm a much better person for it.

@John I don't know how bad Dawkins findings were, but like most scientific data that are "analyzed" by laymmen, they are generally distotrd and manipulated (intentionally or not).

Mar. 28 2013 11:33 AM
Tony from Canarsie

The Truth from Becky -- I think John A means Dawkins (as in Richard), not Dinkins (as in David).

Mar. 28 2013 11:29 AM
John a

Richard Dawkins != David Dinkins
But credits to the early caller for mentioning Catholic school, a great melting pot for the races and classes - my experience as well.

Mar. 28 2013 11:28 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

One observation I have about this - and why people are less likely to cooperate these days - is that the message we are all getting in mass-market form from various sources - the media, the government, special interest groups, TV shows, films, music - is that we do not have common, human goals.

I honestly believe the simple act of starting conversations with people who are unlike ourselves - and talking about the basic, human things we all desire that can bring a sense of security and well-being - is what can change the tone of our society.

On a micro level - I try to do this in my life in NYC, by going out of my way to chat with all different types of people, and to try to be polite to everyone. I also live in a gentrifying neighborhood - still predominantly black, but with other people now coming in. As a white "newcomer" (now going on 7 years in my neighborhood), I know it's important to me to reach out to my neighbors, join pre-existing organizations in my neighborhood, and work on issues that effect everyone in my neighborhood. It is not always easy - some old residents make snap, negative judgements about me based on my skin color - but I know it's important not to take it personally, and to find common ground with the people in my community.

Mar. 28 2013 11:27 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Oh, that last caller put it so well.
Too often, the dominant/unfairly advantaged are
either unwilling to acknowledge/account for the advantage,
or are oblivious to it altogether.

Mar. 28 2013 11:26 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

"Empathy for the Palestinians?" How about some empathy of the Arabs for the Jews for a change?

Mar. 28 2013 11:22 AM
The Truth from Becky

Yep, blame Dawkins, all this many years later...interesting...the one and only Black Mayor ever...laughable.

Mar. 28 2013 11:21 AM
John A

I blame Dawkins for popularizing selfishness 40 years ago, with "The Selfish Gene". There are plenty of other datapoints, but his is one of the earliest.

Mar. 28 2013 11:20 AM

The speaker is difficult to follow.

Mar. 28 2013 11:17 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Genius though he was, Aristotle was merely plagiarizing Fiorello LaGuardia, who memorably said "It takes all kinds of people to make a great city."

Mar. 28 2013 11:15 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I think this gentleman is speaking of people living is suburban cul de sac. Those of us who live in the "real world," that is in inner cities and not in suburban or neighborhood ghettos, know that the only way very different peoples can get along is to adopt the "live and let live" philosophy in life. That means adopting the idea of mutual respect and treating the other as you expect to be treated.
But it's not easy because "birds of a feather do flock together." If someone thinks that the other is opposing him or her due to some prejudice or bias, that of course gets the gander up. It's so easy to use the "race card" or the "gender card"or the "gay card" or the "antisemitism card" to put down legitimate objections or opposition to ones proposals or ideas.

Mar. 28 2013 11:14 AM

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