In the uncertain world of “flexible” social relationships, all are troubled by issues of respect: whether it be an employee stuck with insensitive management, a social worker trying to aid a resentful client, or a virtuoso artist and an accompanist aiming for a perfect duet.
Opening with a recollection of growing up in Chicago’s infamous Cabrini Green housing project, Sennett explores the factors that make mutual respect so difficult to achieve. Even in a perfect world, inequalities of ability remain. Adults who are dependent face challenges in earning both self-respect and respect from others. Compassion degrades into condescension, due to both impersonal bureaucracy and intrusive volunteerism.
In Respect, In a Age of Inequality
, Sennett investigates from the world of music how self-worth can be nurtured in an unequal society, how self-esteem must be balanced with feeling for others, and how mutual respect can forge bonds across the divide of inequality.
New York: W.W. Norton, 2003; London: Penguin, 2002; Berlin: Berlin Verlag, 2002; Paris: Albin Michel, 2003; Barcelona, Anagrama, 2003; Amsterdam, Byblos, 2003; Milan: Il Mulino, 2004; Moscow, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2004. In preparation: Greece, China, Japan, Korea, Denmark