- Monday, 9 November, 2020
18:00 - 19:00
Robert D. Putnam
Malkin Research Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University
author, speaker and social entrepreneur
authors of The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again
in conversation with
Danny Kruger MBE MP
Member of Parliament for Devizes
An eminent political scientist’s brilliant analysis of economic, social, and political trends over the past century demonstrating how we have gone from an individualistic “I” society to a more communitarian “We” society and then back again, and how we can learn from that experience to become a stronger, more unified nation—from the author of Bowling Alone and Our Kids.
During the Gilded Age of the late 1800s, America was highly individualistic, starkly unequal, fiercely polarized, and deeply fragmented, just as it is today. However as the twentieth century opened, America became—slowly, unevenly, but steadily—more egalitarian, more cooperative, more generous; a society on the upswing, more focused on our responsibilities to one another and less focused on our narrower self-interest. Sometime during the 1960s, however, these trends reversed, leaving us in today’s disarray.
In a sweeping overview of more than a century of history, drawing on his inimitable combination of statistical analysis and storytelling, Robert Putnam analyzes a remarkable confluence of trends that brought us from an “I” society to a “We” society and then back again. He draws inspiring lessons for our time from an earlier era, when a dedicated group of reformers righted the ship, putting us on a path to becoming a society once again based on community. Engaging, revelatory, and timely, this is Putnam’s most ambitious work yet, a fitting capstone to a brilliant career.
About the authors
Robert D. Putnam is the Malkin Research Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and a former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has written fourteen books, including the bestselling Our Kids and Bowling Alone, and has consulted for the last four US Presidents. In 2012, President Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal. His research program, the Saguaro Seminar, is dedicated to fostering civic engagement in America.
Shaylyn Romney Garrett is a writer and award-winning social entrepreneur. She is a founding contributor to ‘Weave: The Social Fabric Project,’ an Aspen Institute initiative. She also contributed to Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell’s American Grace. Shaylyn holds a degree in Government from Harvard University, and is a returned Peace Corps volunteer.