New York University Professor Richard Sennett has won the 2012 Zócalo Book Prize for his recently published Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation (Yale University Press, 2012). The prize, awarded by Zócalo Public Square, is given to a book “that best deepened our understanding of community.”
The award committee’s judges cited the work for providing “an impressively capacious analysis of the conflict that political philosophers since the Greeks have identified as the central conflict in human history—that between the individual and society.” In Together, Sennett explores how people can cooperate online, on street corners, in schools, at work, and in local politics, tracing the evolution of cooperative rituals from medieval times to today, and in situations ranging from socialist groups in Paris to workers on Wall Street.
Sennett will receive the award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize, at an April 13 ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Zócalo Public Square, a project of the Center for Social Cohesion, aims to connect people to ideas and to each other in an open, accessible, non-partisan, and broad-minded spirit through events and on-line journalism.
Sennett, also a professor at the London School of Economics and the University of Cambridge, holds the rank of University Professor at NYU. The title is conferred upon outstanding scholars in recognition of the interdisciplinary dimension of their work. Sennett is the author of: The Craftsman (2008); The Culture of the New Capitalism (2006); Respect in a World of Inequality (2003); The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (1998); Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization (1994); The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities (1990); Authority (1980); and The Fall of Public Man (1977).
Sennett is the founding director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, which was established in 1976, and is a member of numerous international associations and scientific academies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature, and the Royal Society of the Arts. In 1998, he was awarded the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences, followed by the “Das politische Buch” (The Political Book) prize endowed by the Bonn-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation in 1999. In 2006, he was the winner of the Hegel Prize awarded by the city of Stuttgart. In 2008, Sennett received Germany’s Gerda Henkel Prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement in the historical humanities. In 2009, he won the Heinrich Tessenow Medal, given by Hamburg’s Alfred Toepfer Foundation, for his work in the areas of urban culture and public space. In 2010, Sennett captured the Spinoza Prize, a biennial award recognizing contributions to public debate on ethics and morality, and, in 2011, the Jeanette Schocken Prize for Literature.