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Poster for Harvard Book Store presents Michael Sandel

Harvard Book Store presents Michael Sandel

Coming on November 28

Run Time: 90 min.

Harvard Book Store Presents:

Michael Sandel


Democracy’s Discontent:
A New Edition for Our Perilous Times

Harvard Book Store welcomes renowned political philosopher and Harvard professor MICHAEL SANDEL for a discussion of Democracy’s Discontent: A New Edition for Our Perilous Times, updating his classic book on the American political tradition to address the perils democracy confronts today.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Brattle Theatre events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the venue. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth. At venues where refreshments are served, attendees may briefly unmask when actively eating or drinking.
  • Attendance is capped slightly so as to allow for some social distancing in the venue.

For the time being, we will not be holding author signings at these events, in order to limit close contact. When possible, we will have pre-signed books available for purchase on-site.


There are two ticket options available for this event.

Book-Included Ticket: Includes admission for one and one paperback copy of Democracy’s Discontent: A New Edition for Our Perilous Times.

Admission-Only Ticket: Includes admission for one.

Refund Policy: Please note that event ticket purchases are non-refundable and non-returnable.

About Democracy’s Discontent

The 1990s were a heady time. The Cold War had ended, and America’s version of liberal capitalism seemed triumphant. And yet, amid the peace and prosperity, anxieties about the project of self-government could be glimpsed beneath the surface.

So argued Michael Sandel, in his influential and widely debated book Democracy’s Discontent, published in 1996. The market faith was eroding the common life. A rising sense of disempowerment was likely to provoke backlash, he wrote, from those who would “shore up borders, harden the distinction between insiders and outsiders, and promise a politics to ‘take back our culture and take back our country,’ to ‘restore our sovereignty’ with a vengeance.”

Now, a quarter century later, Sandel updates his classic work for an age when democracy’s discontent has hardened into a country divided against itself. In this new edition, he extends his account of America’s civic struggles from the 1990s to the present. He shows how Democrats and Republicans alike embraced a version of finance-driven globalization that created a society of winners and losers and fueled the toxic politics of our time.

In a work celebrated when first published as “a remarkable fusion of philosophical and historical scholarship” (Alan Brinkley), Sandel recalls moments in the American past when the country found ways to hold economic power to democratic account. To reinvigorate democracy, Sandel argues in a stirring new epilogue, we need to reconfigure the economy and empower citizens as participants in a shared public life.

Praise for Democracy’s Discontent

“Few books are as relevant a quarter-century after their appearance as when published―but Michael Sandel has made his classic Democracy’s Discontent even more so. Rethinking how the political economy of the middle of the twentieth century has mutated to the detriment of American citizenship, substituting consumerism and globalization for community and self-rule, this is a touchstone study for our times.” ―Samuel Moyn, author of Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World

“Michael Sandel’s deeply insightful analysis of the erosion of the political economy of citizenship has never been more timely than at the present moment. Essential―and ultimately hopeful―reading for all those who wonder if our democratic experiment will survive in the twenty-first century.” ―Greta R. Krippner, author of Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance

Michael Sandel

Michael Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard University. Sandel’s books, including The Tyranny of Merit, What Money Can’t Buy, and Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, have been translated into more than 30 languages. His freely available online course “Justice” has been viewed by tens of millions of people. His BBC series The Global Philosopherexplores the ethical issues lying behind the headlines with participants from around the world. Sandel’s latest book, Democracy’s Discontent: A New Edition for Our Perilous Times, has been described as “essential—and ultimately hopeful—reading for all those who wonder if our democratic experiment will survive in the twenty-first century.” (Greta Krippner).

Photo Credit: Kiku Adatto

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