Political scientist Robert Putnam, whose book Bowling Alone achieved a popular and policy prominence that most social scientists can only dream of, will discuss his latest book, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again, co-written by Shaylyn Romney Garrett, in a virtual launch on November 5.
The launch is part of a larger suite of events, all part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s festival of Social Science week in the United Kingdom. The event is sponsored by Britain’s Campaign for Social Science, SAGE Publishing (the parent of Social Science Space), and King’s College London’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account. The full Festival of Social Science runs from November 7-15 with more than 300 events planned with 34 partners throughout Britain.
Putnam and Garrett, a founding contributor to the Aspen Institute’s Weave the Social Fabric Project, will talk about the book’s exploration of more than a century of history in which various trends brought the United States from an “I” society to a “We” society — and then back again. The book draws lessons for now – a time during which, the book argues, “many Americans seem to agree these days on only one thing: This is the worst of times” — from an earlier era, when a dedicated group of reformers righted the ship, putting the United States on a path to becoming a society once again based on community. You can read an excerpt from The Upswing posted by The New York Times HERE.
Joining the authors in discussing the book, these times and what the American experience means for the UK and other countries are Jennifer Rubin, the executive chair of the ESRC and Professor of Public Policy at King’s College London, and Lord David Willetts, president of the Resolution Foundation. The conversation will be moderated by the chair of the Campaign for Social Science, Bobby Duffy, professor of public policy at King’s College London and director of the Policy Institute.
The 90-minute launch event takes place at 4 p.m. GMT/8 a.m. ET/ 11 PT. You register via the link below; once registered you will receive instructions on how to join the online event.
Putnam is the Malkin Research Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, having retired from active teaching in 2018. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the British Academy and the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and past president of the American Political Science Association. In 2006 Putnam received the Skytte Prize, the world’s highest accolade for a political scientist, in 2013 President Barack Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for contributions to the humanities, for “deepening our understanding of community in America,” and in 2018 the International Political Science Association awarded him the Karl Deutsch Award for cross-disciplinary research.
Among his 15 books two have had an outsized impact in ht e popular mind based on citations sales and public mentions: Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Italy and Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.