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Richard Sennett on Performance in Art, Politics and Everyday Life

Waterstones  |  £6 - £8

Richard Sennett is one of our most important writers about cities, labour and class and social theory. His new book, The Performer – part of a series on the fundamental DNA of human expression – explores the relations between performing in art (particularly music), politics and everyday experience. It focuses on the bodily and physical dimensions of performing, rather than on words. Richard Sennett is particularly attuned to the ways in which the rituals of ordinary life are performances.

The Performer draws on history and sociology, and more personally on the author’s early career as a professional cellist, as well as on his later work as a city planner and social thinker. It traces the evolution of performing spaces in the city; the emergence of actors, musicians, and dancers as independent artists; the inequality between performer and spectator; the uneasy relations between artistic creation and social and religious ritual; the uses and abuses of acting by politicians.

Richard Sennett grew up in the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago, attended the Julliard School in New York and then studied social relations at Harvard. Over the last five decades, he has written about social life in cities, changes in labour and social theory.

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