Richard Sennett: The Sociology Of Public Life – Part 1



and to this conference to celebrate honor but also possibly you have a little critical assessment of the work of Professor Richard Sennett professor Senate buy-in reckoning is one of the foremost intellectuals in the world I think he's had an extraordinary global impact through the proliferation of writings he's produced over the past on let me say a few years well reasonable number large number of years and he he's intellectual to my taste because he doesn't just confine his ideas to the Academy he has a strong interest in public policy in speaking to a much wider audience than an academic one and that is part of the purpose of this first panel to discuss the intersection between intellectual creativity and public life I first met Richard when he was plain old dick Senate when I went to New York before the beginning of time when I just written the book for the class structure of the advanced societies deservedly now forgotten by history Richard well Richard had written this fantastic book I didn't know about at the time before I met him called the hidden dangers of class much more original and interesting than mine and it has stood the test of time and there it is in print I think come up to this very day I gave this speech NYU and this you won't believe this now to look at him but it's very shaggy looking person with the hair sort of sticking out all over the place came up to me and started spraying all these names around you know saying he knew Susan Sontag and so on the so I said God you don't know Susan's sometime and he proved it a little while later by taking me up to dinner not only we Susan Sontag but also with you organ how Amasa I don't need to remember that evening he was gone well maybe it never happened thankfully shaking maybe you don't know Susan some time while she seemed to be there to me and he was also running this some are quite still institution I think called the Institute for the Humanities in New York which was kind of defending the arts and defending literature at a time when they were under considerable strain and attack and I think this is very important part of Richard's public career he's been at the LSE I think since 1999 he's had a major impact on the London School of Economics I'd like to thank him for all the help he gave me during my time here he will recall that one of his major initiatives along with Ricky Burdette I'm sure is sitting in the audience somewhere the city's program at the LSE was extremely difficult to go out the crowd in the beginning we have no funding for it and I did my little bit to try and help it but Richard is very good fundraising and one of the things and the city's program is now dramatically successful with major impacts and a major program setting cities around the world say I think Richard is now an academic governor of the LSE so it's about nine since 2006 and he's just been a really significant figure in this institution but within the wider world well we've got a equally once equally but distinguished panel to discuss Rich's writings sitting here in front of you professor Judy Wiseman had the sociology department famous for writings on feminism and technology I'm very pleased to meet you Judy for the first time this is trade Calhoun equally eminent by a sociologist they're very very strong international reputation bruno latour probably the most cell raising philosopher of science and technology of the current period Allen respirator editor of The Guardian major influence on on British society and culture richard has published I believe quite widely in the Guardian and you're both members of some string quartet or is it a rock group I can't remember but they've they have a certain set of musical tastes in common anyway so I'm going to give each speaker 15 minutes to discuss the topic of public policy in relation to Rich's writings after that we'd have a backcourt of now left for open questions from the floor so I'd like to ask all the panelists to try to stick as closely as they can to that allocated time limit beyond that the the afternoon stretches off into infinity Richard once told me near the arch because of Canterbury I said yeah you don't know the arch Britain country but it seems that he does because the archbishop is going to have a dialogue with Richard – why not these proceedings so there you have an extraordinary well-rounded massively distinguished intellectual career which we're here to celebrate as well as dissect so I turn first to Julie Wiseman to make the first intervention thanks very much attorney I must say it gives me great great pleasure to open up this panel discussing Richards work he's been a source of inspiration to me throughout my entire career as a sociologist of economic life one of the central tenants of sociology is that people's work experience and how they understand it are essential in producing their self-identity that work provides status dignity and the opportunity for personal development and no one has explored these issues with more creativity and compassion than Richard Sennett Richard's writings have always highlighted the role of work in shaping one sense of self in giving purpose and meaning to life and crucially its centrality to dignity the founding sociologists such as Marx Weber and Durkheim both the structure and experience of work and particularly the division of labor were fundamental to building the ties that actually bind people together and I see Richard very much in this sociological tradition in fact rereading the three books that I want to talk about briefly in my few minutes today the hidden injuries of class the corrosion of character and the craftsman I was very conscious of Marx's concept of alienation and durkheim's writings of enemy echoing through these texts I first read the hidden injuries of class when it was hot off the press and I was a PhD student in Cambridge and fortunately I met Richard during this time when he was visiting the UK and the book made a huge impression on me and indeed the very first thing I published was a review of the book in the 1978 edition of the sociological review where I described the book as provocative and innovative breaking out of the confines of normal academic boundaries I was a young socialist then active in the labor movement and what struck me powerfully about that book was it evocation of the human consequences of the American class system richard and his co-author jonathan cobs unique ability to convey the emotional lives of ordinary people was quite unlike any other writing about workers at the time he went way beyond the easy truths of surveys and questionnaires paying close attention to the language his subjects themselves use to describe the experiences of class relations and the image he predicts is that of middle-aged manual workers emerging from the isolation of the ethnic village and confronting in an ambivalent and often painful way the values of the dominant culture for Richard it is not so much the material costs of class that shape his subjects but the psychological costs classes of factor the conditions their most intimate lives and their sense of loss and personal failure their search for dignity is what he renders so sensitively the only comparable book at that time was by Studs Terkel I notice it came out the same year actually starts Terkel famous book where he was interviewing workers as well and presenting their own authentic voices but Richard went much further than this in combining this fine-tuned listening with a sociological analysis that is he's not only portraying work of feelings but also allowing us to understand why their dreams take the form they do such as the common desire to set up their own business as a child of my grandparents who'd witnessed the hard graft involved in self-employment I'd always found this dream perplexing but Richards analysis of these manual workers powerfully evokes the painful destructive effects that the internalization of class has on their self-respect that book was published in 1971 and the form of industrial capitalism that Richard was describing then is hard to recall the intervening decades have seen the demise of working-class solidarity and the expansion of services the globalization of production lots of change and indeed it's often claimed now that people are less concerned about interested in or committed to work that work is now purely an instrumental activity and that people are working simply in order to consume that consumption is now the basis of identity now I do not just subscribe to this view and neither I'm happy to say does Richard undaunted by the hype about our consumer society he again placed work as the core of identity with his brilliant portrayal of the personal consequences of the new capitalism in the corrosion of character now I must say that it's a pretty good thing to write one book that captures the zeitgeist but to do it again almost three decades later is really an incredible achievement as the title suggests here Richard argues that the loss of the long-term in the new capitalism is producing a crisis of character whereas in the old economy there was predictability Careers the capacity to develop skills and these somehow sustained character in modern work that is insecure and unpredictable we now have an increasingly lost workforce unable to sustain the relationships needed for a developed social identity and this is a very hard sort of thing to capture but in quintessential Richard style he dramatizes the huge transformations from the old to the new capitalism with his opening story about meeting the son of a worker he had interviewed for hidden injuries of class I think we all feel like we know Enrico an immigrant janitor whose sense of self-respect derived from a linear narrative of working hard and providing for his family his a fluent son Rico is a consultant whose labor is episodic and short-term and the loss of the long-term the loss of a career the need to be constantly fluid and flexible has led the son feeling anxious about his ability to provide a model of ethical committed behavior for his own child in Richards words if I could state Rico's dilemma more largely short-term capitalism threatens to corrode his character particularly those qualities of character which bind human beings to one another and furnishes each with a sense of sustainable self I found the book particularly compelling because by coincidence I was myself involved in a research project looking at the changing nature of managerial careers in post bureaucratic organizations and in line to views I too encountered the anxiety about the shift of market risks and responsibility onto individuals but while certainly Richard captured the mood of the time in my view the pessimism of his prognosis was exaggerated I think he under plays the positive freeing dimensions of this move to individualization which tony giddens had highlighted in his work on reflexive modernization Cyril employment for those who can take advantage of the labor market may well furnish new forms of identity freed from traditional normative and institutional constraints be that as it may the corrosion of character deservedly won numerous prizes and gained a wide popular readership and part of Richard's achievement is the way he bridges different worlds and speaks to audiences beyond the usual academic terrain which as I'm sure a theme that Ellen will pick up on this panel I remember to go going to all sorts of people's homes at the time and the book was around everywhere and for many of them it really opened the door on to sociology for which I'm very grateful on reflection what strikes me about this book and the one of thirty years earlier is the common theme that workers can't get no satisfaction as one of our alumni very famous alumni would have put it the shift from blue-collar to white-collar managerial work has not resolved the problem how we can attain in Richards words interesting and meaningful work the degree of responsible autonomy and recognize social esteem and respect perhaps Richards more recent book on the craftsman provides some clues this book is really about time the time it takes to obtain a skill and the satisfaction of exercising it here he returns to the pre-modern experience of making handcrafted goods stressing that people learn about themselves anchor themselves in material reality through this process of making things for Richard one of the most insidious features of the time culture of the new capitalism is the assumption that work isn't part of life that it's merely a way of making money and here he draws on an aura when a rents distinction his teacher I gather from rereading the book Anna rents distinction between two forms of life but in one life we make things and in another hire way of life we stop producing and start judging and discussing for a rent the mind engages once labor is done not so for Richard he argues that thinking and feeling are contained within the process of making and the issue then becomes not only of limited work hours but rather asking broader questions about how work can be made more human rereading the book again I find that it really speaks to my current preoccupations and I say to Richard that whenever I reread the books I read them very differently and kind of they seem to have resonance with whatever I'm working on at the time and this has been the case throughout my career so at the moment I'm actually working on the relationship between technology and time and thinking a lot about the widespread sense that we're living in an accelerating society and I work on mobile phones and the internet and I'm interested in the way these feed the perception that somehow speed is sexy and being slow taking one's time is dull Richard is not frightened to take this on and in the craftsmen advocates the value of acquiring skills that take many – perfect I recall you say it takes about 10,000 hours or three hours a day for ten years – really ingrain a complex skill the craftsman is another lovely book a pleasure to read although I don't all together share Richards nostalgia for craft workers as the last bastion of dignity and autonomy at work he uses the example of line ax line it's programmers engaged in creative generative work and this did certainly resonate for me but I did wonder a bit about his focus on being absorbed in making things on technical skills independent from people skills in the service sector for example women do much caring work involving emotions and deep absorption which seemed to me to fit very well really with Rich's discussion on the unity of a head and hand and indeed successful computer programmers know that in order to design very good information systems you need to be thinking about relationships between people as much as technical skills and in fact these things are in it inextricably linked in my view while Richard describes his project as a cultural materialism he doesn't really reflect this was my heaviest criticism byproducts he doesn't really reflect I don't think on the way technology mediates all social relations and this is the point I've left Bruno to elaborate because I'm sure he will and doesn't even understand leaving I'm doing work and employment and Bruno will do Science and Technology studies that's our division of labor here the final point I would make about Richards work which I've written about actually is the predominance of male voices in his narratives but in Richards inimitable way whenever I have raised this with him he assures me that he just does this so he's left something for me to do now I am by saying as the current head of the sociology department what an honor and pleasure it's been having Richard in the department building friendships with colleagues takes time maybe not 10,000 hours but I think it takes a lot of time and I'm glad that Richard and I have had the time to form a close bond similarly he's been part of the life of the London School of Economics for many years now and I'm sure he'll continue to be with us in every way Thanks great power just giving a new meaning to just-in-time production because you just type that what does this mean actually I say you're interesting to see how profound it can be thank you – why no I'm happy – to embrace that quasi introduction because not only do i I love my computer but it is of course a a Senate like computer I've ensured that Richard himself now has one he lived for a time hampered by a IBM Windows existence and needed an Apple existence needed to integrate design and with practice to have a computer about which one could feel a sense of intimacy but which one could also use in public life a computer which could be thought of as a kind of craftsmen's cultural object and not simply a pure matter of instrumentality but enough of my computer let me begin really by thanking the LSE thank you the LSE for giving Richard some wonderful years because I have enjoyed and gained vicarious pleasure in how much Richard has enjoyed his existence here with you and in the city how much he is gained out of enthusiasm as well as connection to particular context here and that's terrific let me thank the LSE also for receiving from Richard some wonderful years I actually am more ambivalent about that I slightly resent the amount of that reception that took place on this side of the Atlantic but also Richards work which I've had the chance through our nylon project and others to see embodied in students and colleagues who have benefited from his personal warmth is cultural breadth his intellectual seriousness and the public engagement that he brings to his work and I thank the LSE for having the good sense to organise this event and the unpredictable of politeness to invite me with his typically gracious manner Richard suggested that I ought to speak today about myself and my own work knowing Richard well however I thought he wouldn't mind if I spoke about him and maybe a little bit about social science and the world Richard is a remarkable scholar and researcher sociologist and urbanist he has a PhD in American Studies who experienced his move to Britain as a true homecoming he became part of the British scene and a profound influential and I think very happy way Richard is a Flener who loves London's streets and those of cities around the world indeed he is Baudelaires sort of urbanist one who's strongest engagement with cities is at street level richard is also a Salani heir or as is sometimes said here he is eminently claw bubble at home over a good single malt or sipping a french red and prepared to tell you about the provenance of whichever one he is drinking and why it is distinctively the best that could be acquired he is the sort of person whom you want to invite to dinner and whom you hope will invite you and if you are lucky there will be music for Richard is a talented cellist who studied at Julliard beforehand injury's sent him into the humanities and social sciences a kind of permanent purgatory of which he has made the best and to the University of Chicago and Harvard and on ultimately to the LSE and MIT and NYU and so forth Richard is also a listener of thoughtful depth and real distinction and I mean that first of all I wrote that down as a listener to music that is that part of the pleasure of music with Richard is Richards listening his ear his knowledge his ability to comment on everything from the history of intonation through to the way in which changing librettos have shaped the meaning of a particular opera but I mean that also in friendship and I mean that also in his sociological work a lot of it is based on very good listening but above all Richard is a writer he is a writer mainly in the morning in order to leave time and mental resources for all the walking drinks dinners and music but he is a writer first this sets him apart from many other social scientists he is simply better I think but more than that he conceives the enterprise differently he writes not simply to record the results of research to engrave timeless truths into an imaginary record but to communicate to be read I say parenthetically to you many of you are probably social scientists you might consider this possibility that one of the purposes in writing one of the things that ought to shape the nature of your prose is the hope that others will read it and possibly even find that experience pleasurable I don't believe this is taught here or at any other university you could innovate in social science by emphasizing the existence of readers for Richard informed by his life in music writing is a performance jealous colleagues think it is simply a matter of talent these are often the same people who think great teachers simply have attractive personalities and failed to see the roles of preparation effort and a real desire to help students they forget what Richard knows that writing is a matter of practice not just in the sense that one must practice to do it well though that is true but in the sense of a professional practice a deployment of tools and devices knowledge and Sensibility in order to do a certain kind of work like an architect's practice or a medical practice writing a book like other crafts is a matter of thinking in the process of making it involves less manual dexterity I have seen Richard type as well as play the cello but when done well it is craft work craft work of the kind that richard has described so well in his books but I want to suggest practiced so well in creating the books as a writer Richard has a marvelous style inviting conversational a bit like the best sort of tutorial a privileged University student could imagine his discourse is learning but the area Edition is never an end in itself the references to Diderot and Fichte waviness and Proust Jane Jacobs Luke Luke Corbusier are there to help you learn to think each book says in effect think this way a little bit like the character again Young Frankenstein who says but Richards message really is think this way think right the books are an invitation to think they do not say the authorial voice never says I have learned ever thing and now I am going to explain it to you that's what your github Ramos says but not what richard says about the public sphere Richards books do not say there is a system and if you master and unlock the sigilian system you will have the key to everything Richard's books invite you to think they offer you resources with which to think they invite you to think in a way that he has discovered is interesting and useful possibly morally and publicly profound but they invite you to think with him and at their best they carry the some of the same kind of eagerness Richard's friends occasionally are treated to when Richard says I just I just figured out working on the book and I know now it's fallen into place the penny has just dropped it's clicked it's about this now in the course of Richard's writing of books it may be about several different visas but the excitement right is something that comes through in this the excitement of being able to think newly about issues now Richards references to Jeter oh and all the others Deidre's a particular favorite who frequently crops up do impress you but this isn't gratuitous name-dropping precisely because each reference comes with an invitation into the community of those who think when each book says think this way write it is as much about the thinking as about following the way think about capitalism for example in terms of the lives it offers those who work in its businesses whether as janitors or bankers or admin or executives don't forget the economics but don't let your vision be reduced to an alleged bottom line of profit margins or GDP and fail to see that this capitalism is a system that creates and distributes and forecloses not just wealth but opportunities to live to formulate plans to find a purpose and a meaning for your life a community with others or a connection to future generations or think of authority another of Richards looks less famous but one of my personal favorites think of authority not just as a form of domination but a modality of respect recall the ideas of personal dignity that were implicit in practices like addressing colleagues and even friends as mr. or mrs. professor or dr. master or maestro who rather than to think of cities not just as efficient or inefficient magnificent or mundane but as sites to hear smell see and feel the presence of others a presence that may be public or private frightening or reassurance reassuring congested into traffic mediated by membranes that give shape to neighborhoods open to the flaner think of the ways in which cities nurture or debase public life don't just privilege the familiar and private but don't imagine that the public is merely the exposed or the numerous or the lowest common denominator see how the public is performed and in Richards account of the public it is always crucial as so many others forget to keep the performative dimension in mind performance is shaped by culture and tradition and skill and creativity the skill the creativity of designers architects and urban planners of visionaries of various kinds who think about what cities could be without ever building a building and of the ordinary people who make them live in their practices richard has been famous for nearly 40 years I think in fact that he was already famous among his growing circles of intimates before he reached a larger public in print I've been known a few of the people that he introduced Tony and Judy and others to I think that Richard was already somebody talked about by others and famous in that sense but it was the publication of the hidden injuries of class in 1972 that brought him wider Fame the diagnosis of that book that Judy's already briefly described was in certain ways distinctively American it was rooted in Tocqueville observation of how him in America people enjoyed distinctive equality not least in manners yet we're constantly comparing themselves to their neighbors and judging themselves harshly for any deficiencies the hidden injuries of class was about the way that workers in America experienced the class structure even while they blocked the existence of that class structure from their ideology from their self understanding denying it you know we're all middle class they experienced the losses in their lives the home mortgage they couldn't get the job from which they were laid off they experienced their subaltern position in general in that class structure as somehow their own fault and this was the most profound of the hidden injuries of class the self inflicted injury of thinking that your position was due to your own responsibilities or your own failings if they had no savings it must be because they lacked self-discipline if they didn't go to university this was due to their lack of talent or virtue if they felt they had no control over their lives they had no one to blame but themselves it is one of the tragedies of the 40 years during which richard has been famous that his diagnosis has become much more global much more profound even than it was in 1972 that the privatization of risk and responsibility to which Judy alluded has become so widely the condition of a new capitalism that in general the condition he analyzed as specific to America has become endemic to global capitalism and indeed even worsened the culture of the new capitalism as Richard has reported has spread the insecurities and self-doubt that workers often experienced to the middle and privileged classes at the same time the institutions and tacit social contracts that gave a semblance of security to workers under the older capitalism have been dissolved it is harder for parents to make sense of their own work and sacrifices by expectations for the upward mobility of their children but the issue is not as so many sociologists long assumed merely mobility or even inequality itself it is lives in which one can find meaning or in which it becomes very hard to see the meaning of the work and the labor the investments and the sacrifices Richard has studied these issues first and foremost as an acute sensitive observer and secondly through a range of interviews and more generally conversations it's customary at the beginning of a book based on interviews to say how many subjects were interviewed in to enumerate and count the interviews I did 56 interviews of an hour each using this list of questions you won't find that in Richards books that one may suspect is because Richard did not work in that manner that Richard conducted far more interviews and far more intensive interviews because every conversation he had while he was working on the book was part of the research as well as those in depth and detail that he returned to over and over again I understand Richard watches he listens he does so empathetically he's not a man of long protocols but he is able to get people to tell their stories to open up what they care about and worry about they do so because he is interested in them and their stories and these become the resources for the books never just their data importantly their sources Richard studies have always then what is now fashionable to call public sociology this has always had several dimensions reaching broader public's because they read reaching policymakers with ideas connecting politics culture and social theory they've also had a reflexive moment noting the limits the paradoxes and the unintended consequences of social movements I won't read out the quotation but the way in which he begins the culture of new capitalism noting what the radicals of the 1960's wanted and what they actual got actually got and the somewhat perverse relationship between the two all of this is related to the sort of public policy and public life Richard seeks in values our come our focus here and it's related to Richard as a teacher so since my time is up I'll close with just two words on each the sort of public policy and public life Richard seeks is for grown-ups he wants a government policy and a political discussion for grownups and he thinks that much of the way in which we create policy and the way in which we discuss it is for children is infantilizing is conducted not only in a paternalistic way but in a way that systematically addresses each of us and constitutes us less as grown-ups we should have less pandering less bypassing of reason on the way to emotion more insistence on the idea that everyone can think and should Richard fall shows much of the influence of Hana Arendt in his approach to making a world in common as a teacher Richard's focus is on enabling students to speak and write as well as do research to enable them to be among the makers of the world in common through their work by bringing out their voices his students will know he asks repeatedly where are you in this text he asks about the engagements that make it matter he calls for specifics that will make it pleasurable and potentially memorable the connection between Richard as a teacher and Richard thinking about the public sphere and participating in the public sphere is meaningful and mediated by Richard the writer somebody who is not doing this to show off but to communicate somebody who is able to make it work whether it is the teaching or the column in The Guardian or the book of 600 pages by an invitation to join with him in thinking better and articulating this in order to make a better world in common that's the public life of Richard Sennett thank you well British trend of it anyway I want to speak yeah yeah it's a good beginning since it's a which Armand and supposed to be a bit sad I thought it would be better to talk about the three other books of the two other books in the same series as the craftsman yes you were here me because in the not in religious book craftsman two other books are announced and they are both the three of them are put under the auspices of Pandora now of course pandora is known for I have a Greek but also by avatar the universe film the skin which has been made by your prime ministers opening I understand Cameron except avatars much better known than your Prime Minister anyway in this the planet is called Pandora now I thought of course Pandora planet was actually robbed by a Cameron Cameron the filmmaker from a book I wrote called Pandora's hope but there is a very interesting imagination now of how will which our senate means meets Pandora's as a planet in Everett my little talk is about I think the best description is Richard Sennett meeting a Gaia the reason why I think about because of a book in the craftsmen is actually a very interesting advance against so for renewal of materialism I mean this is the thing which interest us in science studies a lot the notion of skill of course is a very interesting notion because it's the one which is linking two completely unrelated set a fixie of course innovation on one hand but also care and precautions so there is a very interesting moment and we are living for a very interesting moment now which is the ecological crisis time when we have to live simultaneously inventing a definition of materiality which is new because it has all of the beautiful exuberant aspect of technology called progress on the one hand but a completely different hooked up on a completely different set of intention and mood which here care and precaution and I'm very interested for that reason in the book which is called a stranger which is the third in the series which is not yet written which is about Pandora as a planet so to speak as you know there is in the book by the craftsmen stories about Frankenstein I mean that's necessary when you speak of Pandora you have to meet Frankenstein but you also know that in the story of Mary Shelley Mary Shelley was writing this book because of a volcano ash actually stuck her inside a Chamonix Valley for the whole summer there is absolutely not one single day of Sun because of a volcano – and she wrote this strange book which is always misunderstood and actually Frankenstein himself with the doctor of major thing as you know apologize for having innovated and he apologized for having innovated and say well I will not innovated I go back home I would stop innovating and of course the whole book is about the fact that this guy is actually apologizing for sin hiding a much worse sin and I think that's where which our Senate I should say the authority on morality goes the real sin of Frankenstein's of course of having abandoned his creature and this is the hidden sin which is hiding through apologizing for another sin i innovated no no it's not that you innovated which promise but you have been during your creator and fled in her after what you said well Richard Sennett doesn't flee from our own creation and I think that's why there is a deeply religious argument there although it doesn't speak much of religion in this book which is how can we win ovate our connection with frankenstein so in a very different way but is we have created all these things now we should not let them go back and that's the point and very briefly i think there are free element in this big project one on materiality the other on morality and the third on public life I go very fast because I have not much time to go on materiality one of a strangest thing that we discover in science studies and in witches work is how little materialist we are how difficult it is to be materialist Network and they are even though there are few references in the book in the books of Witcher 2 science practices we are quite a lot of them nonetheless and as you know a large part of science students has been about recovering the practice from the science and then when you big week of every practice from science and engineering you get completely different definition of what is mentality we we have difficulty being materialist and when we think we are metal is we forget lots of everything with people who are doing the material and of course language skills so one of a very important aspect of Richard's work for me is this we materialisation where matter doesn't appear as it is too often in the modernist discourse which is in fact and very idealist definition of matter so there is a that's why I think we share the pragmatist tradition and that pragmatism is our common source what is so important also is that there is nothing no static in the work of Richard when you deal with modern technology and in all of a book you will see as many example of modern technology like CAD design only news as Trudy mentioned as we are from butters and Weaver's and all of these people what is of course very important for the morality aspect is that in the work on materiality we are made by what we do so invent volver slight differences between some argument about the making the anthropomorphizing of technology is not a mistake we are made of shape of the anthropos is made by the thing that they have done so it's not that we project and Julie on our computer rag and to just eat Craig just showed it few minutes ago on the computer is that Greg adds the shape that the computer the Apple computer give it impact me not water so the fact that ant this entrepreneur Fink relation is very important because it we often say no we should not project things and we should not be animated we should not animate matters because that's a sin no it's exactly the opposite we are made by the thing we do and this is why it's so important to be able to actually extract from practices the good and the bad practice and the whole book which is called the craftsman is that in fact quite related to before of a public man if you look at it in some ways which is there is a way which is very difficult to get into philosophy of morality or philosophy of science and philosophy of public life which is the difference not the difference between is its fabricator and is it not fabricated but is it well fabricated or bad vacated and the whole discourse shifted somewhere else it's not the city notion of coming back to nature the question is how can we extract from practice the difference between good and bad practice and I think that's a lot of quite so important to get into scheme the final point is about public life what's the link between technology and public life it disappears entirely in the bifurcated world as more white and we'd say when you have on the one hand primary quality which are known by science and on the other side or the subjective aspect of of which are but by best found in art and I'd say that Richard Sennett is not bifurcated I mean even though is not philosophers or white Aegean persuasion he has the same source which is pragmatism as I said before and the idea that this bifurcation between primary and secondary quality in fact never occurred when you look to practice now refines why is it but it's so difficult to learn from practice why is it so difficult but practice and the whole tradition of pragmatism has disappeared as you know from philosophy quite a lot before now it's reappearing a little bit but it's always very very hard to get practice being visible in the eyes of a theoretician and the philosophers and I think but one of the reason is that the language of critique that we use in order to talk about this new materiality is actually very ill adapted to the task I mean think of the word which are criticised as much criticizing good sense by which onon which we're carrying us absolutely nowhere reification but of course but the house is extremely important we think themselves objectification it's good to be an object it's not a bad thing naturalisation commodification is very good and very complicated to make commodities and you can't begin a critique of capitalism if you begin to use commodification as a way to criticize capitalism because it's very very skill also in making commodities so we have a whole vocabulary a critical work array that cut absolutely no ice in fact because we don't it doesn't retrieve quick ich to be rectified when you go to you want to be objectified you don't want to be psycho delight I mean you want people to get find this time so there is something completely silly in the language of critique which is applied to this very important features how do we retrieve how do we retrieve practice and which we bring practice is probably the most important thing especially and I'm finish on that before Tony stops me that our bats great so when I can finish on Pandora us back to Pandora I was trying very struck by Pandora's I mean I've always been struck by whom the Greek myth but I was very struck by the science of push the new teammate image in Avatar which is when the people have to withdraw from the planet Pandora I assume you I've seen with him which is of course a very powerful metaphor the fact that we don't have a planet to live on and at the in the introduction of a craftsman there is a promise and this is why I think it seems important to think about the promise of Richards and it worked now that's free from work I mean from one of his mini position it is the promise to give us the skills which he recognized we don't have to live on Pandora's meat on the earth I want andrás the equivalent of penguins planet and it's quite interesting that come on actually use the word penguins to define the planet which is this very odd type of situation well suddenly realized that the place where we live doesn't have the the size and doesn't have the capacity to bear our own work so I'm very interested in I'm anticipating quite a lot from the meeting of Richard Sennett with Gaia mean Lovelock's gala because gala is a very very special type of entity for which we have absolutely no skills because gala look at us and it's quite indifferent to us and yet we have to learn the skills of living in this planet without like the bad guys in having to flee who can it it would be a very bad end of Richard Sennett career if we all had to do like in the film but his pack up and go back earth like Einstein said it should no no we should not go back we should there but like and love our technology thank you very much well I feel the complete imposter here because I'm in no sense an academic or a sociologist and the only sense of if I can compete at all is to wait my computer in the air which was even better that's my only kudos of the day and I don't feel remotely qualified to criticize Richards work but I do want to talk about the the sense in which my thinking has been helped by Richard in thinking about journalism where journals was going and the the public realm of information and I think Richard isn't the best sense of the word journalistic in in some of the ways that he writes and thinks and believes in communicating including in the in The Guardian sometimes and I've known Richard for about ten years and I've talked a lot with him about the way that I think that this public realm is developing in newspapers and talked about the Guardian and how the Guardian should be developing and I find that incredibly helpful and some of the the themes that Richards interested in about technology and craft and the nature of authority and this public space keep returning to me as I as I think about where newspapers are going where are they going well we're faced with this this alarming prospect that for the first time since the Enlightenment societies are going to live without verifiable sources of information I don't think that's too alarmist to say that because the signs are there everywhere in local newspapers and Richard will know this from the American press and it's happening in national newspapers here and it's pretty clear that that short term capitalism is simply not going to subsidize the kind of serious news that enables us to hold public authorities to account so if you believe it's important to know what's happening in in in Parliament in courts in public authorities in committees in health authorities there is this prospect that you won't have these systems of information that have existed since the 18th century to inform you but there's no shortage of people anticipating really that the bad effects of that not least arise in corruption and it's very easy to be terribly gloomy about this but I think if you if you think about these profound shifts in this new public sphere which exists outside the the the the industry and the the business of us growing up around journalism then I think you can see some interesting trends it's clear by the way that the subsidy model is the only thing that's going to get us through the next ten years so that this market model of information is not going to work in terms of of serious information and and that absolutely relates to the BBC and what that what that stands for in the public realm and one should just caution against doing anything to tamper with the BBC and models like that at the moment and that the the mantra that says you only by dismantling the BBC can you let the free market exist and that the BBC is some sort of Block on on that developing and I think it's very dangerous so what what is this future public space beginning to look like I think think the significant trends there are to ignore the forces that are shaping it so that there are two great neutral forces I think which are having in effect one one is advertising which is completely neutral about this public space it's become a little bit of dogma to mantra to say that these at the New York Times Baghdad Bureau is paid for by the Walmart advertising and that was a kind of sort of cross subsidy within newspapers that again since the 18th century has subsidized news but advertising of course doesn't care about those values any more than the second great force which is bearing down on us technology I think technology is is a is a is a neutral force and completely out of our hands it's completely out of our hands about who's going to develop the next form of this what is going to look like what it can do so that leads to great and profound changes I think to journalism itself and here you hit another theme of or two more themes of riches one is about that the craft of journalism what kind of craft is it is it a craft because I think for a long time journalists saw themselves as a profession but I think we have to think of what this craft is that we bring to it that we can do that we can do well and think of that in in a separate way from the notion of authority which is another theme of riches that we've heard about today and what does that authority mean is Authority the same as expertise and you'll hear journalists a lot saying particularly the discussion of how you pay for all is that where the people with authority and I doubt that that's true i doubt that journalists do have authority and i think if we have authority in print it's derived from our editorial craft that we have skills in editing and prioritizing and and that worked for a long time in financial terms because of the scarcity of what we did we were the mediators you weren't we were the gatekeepers it was all one way you couldn't really answer back or contribute and it was a very top-down model so we were the gatekeepers in the sense that we would that we were disseminated disseminating information from above that's largely how newspapers worked and if you get into an age in which people are very skeptical about those top-down models then it's not surprising that newspapers are also in trouble so if you bet an anti politics feeling in the country you might well get an anti mainstream media feeling the rush to integrate the the models that are operating so that the the the old models which were about about authority and about the bundling together of disparate subject matters in ways in which we could impose our authority and our structures on the world that Russia integrated that world with the new digital world in embodied by devices like this has masked I think deeper thoughts which are now emerging about the way in which these these two types of information are very very different and they're all pretty obvious to anybody under the age of 30 I mean anybody who has seen or grown up with with the with web 2.0 and what that has done to peer-to-peer communication and seen that blossom the idea that anybody can create content and publish anybody can share that content and debate it with anybody else how that's led to a complete fragmentation of the idea of one community reading one newspaper those communities completely unmediated by us in lots of respects they don't need us to be able to do that the idea that people might respect the opinion of their peers and regard death as having greater authority than anything that comes from above and the idea questioning of a narrow canon of opinion so it's the kind of sort of Tom Friedman and the New York Times foreign affairs correspondent who's going to be the theity on all things foreign at the moment you stop and think about it it's a preposterous idea have to move away from that pretty quickly I think which is what we're tragedy with with commentary the notion of one middle-aged white guy in New York being the guide to the whole world it is not a proposition that's going to last very long and it's part of a wider questioning of authority in politics and religion and skepticism not willing to take things on trust then there's this thing that the the rise of Technology is going to lead to completely different types of of storytelling of information I think is gonna be a rise rise of data and interest in data I think the idea of a story and a piece of narrative text is going to be challenged and and it's going to change in very profound ways that we have to think about journalists and then we have to think about how societies i if what I've said is right so far that the this task that mainstream journalism used to perform since the 18th century is going to disappear our societies are going to inform themselves and you can see beginnings of answers in people organizing themselves in the world wide web into forms of information communities and and I increasingly think of this as the the mutualization of of information and you can see that in these not-for-profit sites like they work for you and fix my street in numerous blog specialist sites in many manifestations of social media and lots of local experiments of people getting together to cover their own particular patch where does that leave old mainstream media well I think there's two approaches one is to say well that's that's all terribly interesting or all these developments are happening elsewhere but that's not what we do we're going to stick to this authority model based on our Authority and our craft and just say that what we do is different and we we will exist behind some kind of wall garden and we are Exceptionalist and the other is to say that actually this mutual eyes approach to information is probably and a very exists it is very permanent change in information and that we have to to experiment with that that we we're not abandoning these crafts that we have of journalism these skills we have great considerable audiences regarding there has an audience of something like 35 million around the world there are skills that we can bring in terms of verification and reporting and contextualizing and analysing about communicating excessively as Richard does in his books not as easy as it looks but we combine that with what we what we can do with these very powerful trends in the way the information is now working and I think as those as two primary characteristics one one is about being open that is acknowledging the way that all information is now linking together and being freely published by anyone and saying we want to be part of that link to it and aggregated and and woven into that and the second is to be collaborative to work with it and to harness that and work out how we can make that a greater force so how does that what does that look like so I'm just gonna end very briefly with with the kinds of questions that we're now asking ourselves at the Guardian and they again grow out of questions that that I've been discussing with Richard about how all this is developing in media and I think there are some characteristics of of this new world that we had just have to move to one is a pretty obvious one about allowing response and participate patient encouraging that not just responding there's not just we're going to be gracious and now to let you respond to what we do but to to let the community of people around what we do start something to initiate things to initiate debates and and for us to follow them so it has to be much led much with it less of a of a one-way street we have to acknowledge this fragmentation around communities not just allow it but be positively interested in these communities that are growing up which is completely different from that bundled product of a newspaper and those communities might form around subjects and my former and issues they might form around individuals who might be are individuals or they're individuals as it where it's that business of being open to the web about linking collaborating with it about the use of references of sources and technological software hardware services it's about aggregating what's going on and curating it so it's not just simply linking out to what's going on elsewhere it's saying to what extent can we pull stuff onto onto where we live so an example would be recently in what we were trying to do on the environment we thought the environment was something the garden was going to be one of the big themes of our working lives but acknowledging that even with the staff of half a dozen environmental correspondences that you could you can only create a drop in the ocean and so harnessing the best environmental coverage and saying it will now sit with us we're not gonna win we're not just be a publisher we're gonna be a platform for that to look at the question of the diversity that you get through the things but the the extent to which diversity exists within a framework of common values the altered the completely alter nature of the alter nature of publishing so the story which was something that existed on a day you would write it you would go home and that was the end of the story the next day would work on a different story that's gone increasingly I think journalists are involving these communities in pre-publication and journalists are living in a world now in which the moment you've written your story and published it the response starts coming in and the question about when you can ever leave that story or how much you can then not regard any stories it's something that's been pinpointed in time but we feel completely flexible and and has a completely different dimension from what we regard as the story ten years ago and and finally the willingness to be completely transparent about this process of journalism so acknowledging that we can't be in control of that but we get things wrong other things needs to be needed to be clarified we must allow them to be clarified but the journalism is a completely different process it's not something in which we are stating the truth we are allowing others to help us make the truth but that's going to be a different thing from Wikipedia so that's where we're asking as skills come in there are huge challenges in all this and some of them overlap with some of Rich's themes about identity about reputation about about how this conversation is moderated and who has the right to moderate that but I'm tremendously optimistic about it I think what I'm describing is something which is absolutely not the decline is the model of mainstream media that we've heard so much about I think it's going to be a long journey it's going to be a difficult one to find business models about it but I think unless journalism can transform itself then I think it will become irrelevant so I did that that is just a tiny snapshot of the thinking that I think is going on inside my head and I just want to end by really thanking Richard for being someone who does all the things that we've heard about today in being so open to ideas who has thought so deeply about things that are that are actually central to what they were doing even though he works in different fields and about the value that he has brought to a world in which he doesn't live but in which his ideas very young rich interesting and instructed panel everyone will agree I think we'll go on for about at least ten minutes more than we were going to to allow a bit of space for questions and observations I mean talking of Gaia and volcanoes and James Lovelock does everyone here know one Edward Munch's picture the scream does everyone know where it came from why he painted him it's much less well-known I think many people think that the scream is like an expression of personal anguish but that wasn't why he painted it he was he records in his Diaries who's going out walking done go to the fuelled in 1890s it was and there was this incredible bright red sunset and he writes in his Diaries I felt the scream echoing through the earth I felt the scream echoing through the earth and that sunset as it turned out was the result of the explosion of the volcano Krakatoa which influenced sunsets around the world indefinitely and to me you know I felt the scream occurring through the earth as a kind of metaphor really for the crisis of sustainability that the earth face is now well we've got will allow ten minutes ELISA questions I'd like this person who asks a question to identify themselves so let me look around for someone ah you sir this was prearranged this not quite does this work yes first of all I'd like to thank you all for coming great removing vacation for me I wonder if what kind of discussion we could have about this Allen's talk which is a lot of times when we try to make things and we appropriated them for ourselves what we're trying to do is make something that's user-friendly to us and the whole idea of pandora is that we're not in control of that process of making something it's simple easy friendly it's occurred to me that a lot of the social networking on the web has had that impulse that is to make something even if people are blogging there's each other up there in a kind of situation where they know all the rules whether inside the box and I wonder if the role for kind of discipline is to disturb that notion that people are in control of their own communication I wonder if rather than being more factual of course it will always factual but that impulse to create something which basically is self referential and so self confirming it is something that it's a natural impulse technology and maybe disturbing that is something that professional newspaper writing will do so it's a kind of communication which mystifies do resonates it's just a thought I had about the it's a pretty easy one for you Alan if you want hopefully yes or no I think correct now now ten years ago I wanted somebody to do that for me as though people are imprisoned in bidding in silence of their own the truth is that people are are also challenging there being sentimental let me put this another way how is it they put this another way how is it do you think that in public communication we can displace people from what they believed before before I mean that's really a kind of fundamental issue in the public realm not to confirm not defining consensus but what kind of communication makes somebody think okay I'm going to think differently thank you we're done somewhere in the audience these are someone can I ask for just um like short questions or should they rather than expositions you've got people here who specialize in exposition I'm thinking of mr. Latura discussion the need for new words or the need to sort of shed meanings that have accumulated for certain critical terms and I'm thinking of certain articles in The Guardian that have started to discuss things like that the human body is now capable of experiencing the change in the climate the sort of visceral sensitivity to change from when one was born to now there's been a dramatic change and and wondering if there's and the discussion going back to the Frankenstein and this thing where one was you can imagine scientist is in a certain zone of creating this Frankenstein and is now watching it run away and whether what how would you is there some metaphor for this set of very difficult to name tools that you're talking about new words and and what is the method or what is the model or metaphor for how the scientists as it were should now approach his creation but the boss is asking easy questions tonight Vicki Bruno I think you should move on to that body which is media sanctity and it's quite interesting prosthesis which titik system which is as you know why widely by the climate skeptics so it's pretty interesting the dispute is also on breaking the instrument which I was just to feel at the time it gave but yeah I actually think this issue of you know the blogosphere and the climate change skeptics is really really interesting because the counter-attack against climate change science hasn't really been led by organized interest it's been led from the blogosphere and when you have a world where everyone could be an expert what is the role of expertise in that world how do you defend the authority of science when you can discredit scientists really quickly by people when you read what they say to me you don't really know what they're talking about but the two key scientists involved if both had to face the tribunals from the University and from the state and the proportion of people you're asking about it change the attitude proportion of people who are now skeptical about climate change Sciences lept massively in many countries as a result of I think almost wholly the impact of the blogosphere see I think you know something really interesting and difficult going on about this and how is also the issue of privacy how I can live in a world with no privacy I'm not sure that is a sort of feasible universe you wanted to say something I was sorry for oh sorry no he didn't know he wanted to stay silent so I was run down here please look don't okay we take both we take these that one and that one and then finish I think please County Jackson can you just be couple bit no I just do my class I talk Paul Collier two days ago talked about the the only way that we were going to get any any fair apportionment on natural assets in terms of the climate change debate was not going to be in any large Copenhagen you in meetings that it was gonna have to be the uprising of a band of a critical mass of informed citizens I I think that what I asked was well what are they what are they gonna do and he didn't ever really answer the question but I thought it was interesting that he feels that no longer are the major negotiating UN panel is going to be sufficient to bring about what needs to happen for us to be able to live on the planet equitably if you're saying that there's no more journalism that's going to be in the current business model that's going to be investigative it's going to be hard hitting you're saying science it could be upended by the blogosphere how do you get in a critical mass of informed citizens eh Allen do you think I could you would you mind if I just cut you off because we have one last observation I think and then very quick response from Richard I think we have to finish for English d2 which Richard is now well accustomed English DS yeah discussed quite like many things he here I wouldn't take up an issue with Julia but I think it has broad irrelevance to – to which his work it's you said that that blue-collar work and had moved to white-collar management work and I have to wonder what sort of world you living to make a comment like that home services is actually no less dirty hence they know there are other forms of work but what it is in fact it represents a to grab more degraded working conditions for instance in the shifts from jobs to contracts real jobs to contracts it's it's in the structures of that it's also rebalance the power of labor and capital in favor of capital such as allowing firms to move service suppliers around which is actually moving cheap labor around and also in overseas investment which is what trading services is overseas investment in services that they also offers nothing in jobs it's also another cheap labor mechanism so it worries me that the head of sociologies is dealing with a shift from manufacturing to services and some sort of color of cola phenomenon you very comment I think I mean I wasn't implying that at all and I can put these little agree with you what I was trying to point out is that in a lot of theories of work there was the assumption that somehow managerial and professional work would be satisfying the autonomy to be creative all of these things and there has been a great growth in the managerial professional sector and I was just trying to point out that in some of Richards recent writing he's showing that the nature of that work I mean his argument in the current character is that the nature of that work means that this work which should be much more satisfying which should be a basis of a kind of cohesive narrative as in functioning in that kind of way I mean actually I think as I said it's an exaggerated account and I'm more sympathetic with some other accounts but that's that's the point I can make not in any sense Richard very quickly maybe I want to just make a very quick response to your really excellent question you've touched a kind of nerve which in the very first for me in the very first book I wrote a book called the uses of disorder I wrote it at a time in the 60s it was somewhat well I was very militant yeah I was constantly confronted by old lefties who say well what's your strategy what do you want and the answer to that is you don't need to know you don't have to have an alternative to government programs protests to have a protest the effect of simply being resistance going on protest for its own sake there's a way of if you like put this politely starting a dialogue in society and my view of this and I've kept this all my life it's I socialist in one way but that anarchist vision always served to me that when we talk about social action what we mean is not I think for real social action know exactly what we want to achieve or ha-lo going to achieve it it's simply to express resistance and protest and see what happens as a result of that and that's what I think should happen in the environmental movement now if it's something that can't be informed by an alternative it's still a reason to resist what is so you bring me back to the thing I wrote about when I was in graduate school imagine I showed this book to one of my professors who said oh but I think I think it's for me the strategy on the Left we've gotta get out of policymaking you have to get out into that kind of discourse and think about something world will more reactive and more expressive without this kind of design of alternatives so I thank you for this question really rejuvenated can I just don't ask you to thank Richard thank our panel but before you do so just to remind you there is tea now but it's supposed to reassemble sharp at 4:30 for the next equally impressive panel so please say thank you to this particular

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