Benjamin Barber

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This article is about the American political theorist. For the Australian actor, see Ben Barber.
Benjamin Barber
Benjamin R Barber in 2010.jpg
Barber in 2010
Born (1939-08-02) August 2, 1939 (age 76)
New York City
Occupation Academic
Nationality American
Genre Political theory

Benjamin R. Barber (born August 2, 1939) is an American political theorist and author perhaps best known for his 1995 bestseller, Jihad vs. McWorld and 2013's If Mayors Ruled the World.


Benjamin R. Barber is a Senior Research Scholar at The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society of The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, the President and Founder of the Interdependence Movement, and Walt Whitman Professor of Political Science Emeritus, Rutgers University.[1] From 2007[2]–2012, he was a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos.

As a political theorist, Barber argues for a renewed focus on civil society and engaged citizenship as tools for building effective democracy, particularly in the post-Cold War world. His current work examines the failure of nation-states to address global problems, and argues that cities and intercity associations are more effectively addressing shared concerns. Benjamin Barber has been a Senior Fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy since 2005.

Barber was an outside adviser to President Bill Clinton and a foreign policy adviser to Howard Dean's 2004 Presidential campaign. He has advised political parties and political leaders in the U.K., Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland and Italy on civic education and participatory institutions.

Barber has met with and worked alongside civil society and government leaders in Turkey, the Emirates, China, and Moammar Gadhafi's Libya.[3][4][5]

Barber was educated at Grinnell College (B.A., 1960) and Harvard University (M.A., 1963; Ph.D., 1966), after earning certificates at Albert Schweitzer College (1959) and the London School of Economics (1957).

Barber's father, Philip W. Barber, directed the New York City unit of the Federal Theatre Project, which produced plays including Macbeth and the Living Newspaper. His mother, Doris Frankel, was a playwright and wrote for television.[6] Barber himself has also been active as a playwright, lyricist (libretto for George Quincy's opera Home and the River) and film-maker (The Struggle for Democracy, with Patrick Watson; Music Inn, with Ben Barenholtz).


Barber's honors include a knighthood from the French Government (Palmes Academiques/Chevalier) (2001), the Berlin Prize of the American Academy in Berlin (2001) and the John Dewey Award (2003). He has also been awarded Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Social Science Research Fellowships, honorary doctorates from Grinnell College, Monmouth University and Connecticut College, and has held the chair of American Civilization at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris.



  1. ^ "Biography". 
  2. ^ "Statement: Benjamin Barber, a Distinguished Senior Fellow" (Press release). Demos. March 14, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Professors Paid by Qaddafi: Providing 'Positive Public Relations'"
  4. ^ Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd, "Gadhafi paid millions to U.S. firms to polish his global image", CNN, April 6, 2011
  5. ^ "Benjamin Barber Responds"
  6. ^ Rosenfeld, Heather (November 6, 2001). "Benjamin R. Barber". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Saward, Michael (2012), "A conversation with Benjamin Barber.", in Browning, Gary; Dimova-Cookson, Maria; Prokhovnik, Raia, Dialogues with contemporary political theorists, Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 24–41, ISBN 9780230303058 

External links[edit]