A master of the interplay between politics and psychology, Richard Sennett here analyzes the nature, the role, and the faces of authority-authority in personal life, in the public realm, authority as an idea. Why have we become so afraid of authority? What real needs for authority do we have-for guidance, stability, images of strength? What happens when our fear of and our need for authority come into conflict? In exploring these questions, Sennett examines traditional forms of authority (The father's in the family, the lord's in society) and the dominant contemporary styles of authority, and he shows how our needs for, less than our resistance to, authority have been shaped by history and culture, as well as by psychological disposition.
Richard Sennett's books include The Corrosion of Character, Flesh and Stone, and Respect. He was the founding director of the New York Institute for the Humanities and now teaches sociology at New York University and at the London School of Economics.