Eric Klinenberg:  Palaces for the People - How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life (Online)

Primary tabs

Age Group:

Teens, Adults
Please note you are looking at an event that has already happened.
Registration for this event is no longer open.

Program Description

Event Details

“Wow. A comprehensive, entertaining, and compelling argument for how rebuilding social infrastructure can help heal divisions in our society and move us forward.”
— Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show on Palaces for the People


Few people understand the intricacies and importance of social spaces like Eric Klinenberg. A sociologist and author of several acclaimed books, his latest work is Palaces for the People: in it, he explores how communities’ social infrastructure spaces—like libraries, childcare centers, churches, and so on—are where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed.

But, these spaces are often difficult to access—especially in poorer or underserved areas. How can we ensure that social infrastructure exists for those who need it most? In this talk, Eric explores how public institutions and shared educational spaces are designed to reflect what we value as a society; and enhancing the ways we engage with these spaces will lead to a more successful, happier population overall. Drawing from data, real-world examples, and the latest figures from urban development, Eric takes a deeper look at the nuanced factors shaping social space—and how communal, educational spaces are more vital than ever.

Eric Klinenberg is Helen Gould Shepard Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He is the author of Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life (Crown, 2018), Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (The Penguin Press, 2012), Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media (Metropolitan Books, 2007), and Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2002), as well as the editor of Cultural Production in a Digital Age, co-editor of Antidemocracy in America (Columbia University Press, 2019), and co-author, with Aziz Ansari, of the New York Times #1 bestseller Modern Romance (The Penguin Press, 2015). His scholarly work has been published in journals including the American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, and Ethnography, and he has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and This American Life.


ASL Interpretation provided.

Copies of Palaces for the People are available to borrow from your local library or to purchase from our bookstore partner, The Last Word. 


The program is presented as part of the Maryland Libraries Together series and is sponsored by Calvert Library, Carroll County Public Library, Cecil County Public Library, Charles County Public Library, Eastern Shore Regional Library, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Howard County Library System, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Southern Maryland Regional Library Association, and Western Maryland Regional Library. This program is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Maryland State Library.

Please register with an email address to receive an immediate registration confirmation with a link to join the class/event. This email will also contain the dial-in information if you wish to participate by telephone.