• Nicholas H. Smith1
  • 1Macquarie University, Sydney Australia


The paper attempts to situate Sennett philosophically by placing him in the tradition of ontological hermeneutics. This way of reading Sennett is justified not only by the core principles that govern Sennett's social anthropology, but is also useful for tracing the trajectory of Sennett's philosophically informed diagnoses of the times. These diagnoses focus on the role of work in shaping subjectivity. After reconstructing the basic conceptual shape of Sennett's diagnoses of the work-related maladies of the "old" and the "new" capitalism, the paper presents some broader reflections on the philosophical presuppositions of social criticism that takes its departure from the centrality of work.


  • Richard Sennett
  • work
  • hermeneutics
  • philosophical anthropology
  • capitalism
  • social criticism

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