Eric Klinenberg

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Eric Klinenberg
Born (1970-11-14) November 14, 1970 (age 52)
Chicago, Illinois
OccupationSociologist, author
Alma materBrown University (B.A., 1993)
UC Berkeley (M.A. 1997, PhD 2000)

Eric M. Klinenberg (born November 14, 1970) is an American sociologist and a scholar of urban studies, culture, and media. He is currently Helen Gould Shepard Professor in Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. Klinenberg is best known for his contributions as a public sociologist.


Klinenberg was born in Chicago to a family of Czech-Jewish origin.[1] He attended the Francis W. Parker School and later earned a bachelor of arts degree from Brown University (1993), followed by a master's degree (1997) and PhD (2000) from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently Professor of Sociology, Public Policy, and Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, as well as the editor of the journal Public Culture. In 2012, Klinenberg became the director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. In 2013, he was appointed research director of the Rebuild by Design competition.[2]


Klinenberg's first book, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2002. The book is an account and analysis of the 1995 Chicago heat wave. The book won several scholarly prizes, including the American Sociological Association Robert Park Book Award, the Urban Affairs Association best book award, the British Sociological Association book prize, the Mirra Komarovsky Book Prize, and honorable mention for the C Wright Mills Award, and was a Favorite Book selection by the Chicago Tribune.[3] A theatrical adaptation of the book premiered in Chicago in 2008.[4]

His second book, Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media, was called "politically passionate and intellectually serious",[5] "a must-read for those who wonder what happened to good radio, accurate reporting and autonomous public interest".[6]

His third book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, was published in February 2012 by Penguin Press.[7][8] Going Solo has been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Turkish, and Hungarian, and has generated widespread debate. In a cover story, Time magazine featured Going Solo as "the number one idea that is changing our lives."[9]

In 2013, Klinenberg wrote an influential article in the New Yorker on Hurricane Sandy and climate change adaptation, in which he explained the role of social infrastructure in protecting cities and communities.[10]

Klinenberg co-wrote a book about romance with comedian Aziz Ansari, Modern Romance: An Investigation, published in June 2015.[11][12]

In 2018, Klinenberg published a book on the role of social infrastructure in American culture titled Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life.[13] Klinenberg analyzes the role of public spaces such as libraries, parks, gardens, and universities among other investments help to strengthen and heal communities and build social capital.

In addition to his books and scholarly articles, Klinenberg has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The London Review of Books, The Nation, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, The Guardian, Le Monde diplomatique, Slate, Playboy, the radio program This American Life [14] and the television program Real Time with Bill Maher.

Select bibliography[edit]


  • Birgit Br; er Rasmussen; Eric Klinenberg; Irene J. Nexica; Matt Wray, eds. (2001). The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-2740-0.
  • Klinenberg, Eric (2003). Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-44322-5.
  • Klinenberg, Eric (2005). Cultural Production in a Digital Age (Volume 597 of Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science). SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-1-4129-1689-9.
  • Klinenberg, Eric (2008). Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-8050-8729-1.
  • Klinenberg, Eric (2012). Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-55980-2.
  • Klinenberg, Eric (2018). Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 9781524761165 [15]

Essays and journalism[edit]


  1. ^ "Populism can be beaten back by libraries. Really". The Economist. 31 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Rebuild by Design – About". Rebuild by Design.
  3. ^ "Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, Klinenberg". Archived from the original on 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-07-31.
  4. ^ "Two IL Troupes Conjure Heat Wave, Drama of Chicago Weather Disaster, Feb. 21". 2008-02-21.
  5. ^ "Owning Up: A New Book Stops Short of Deepening the Discourse on Media Concentration". Columbia Journalism Review.
  6. ^ "Fighting for Air". Time Out New York.
  7. ^ "America: Single, and Loving It". New York Times. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  8. ^ Stromberg, Joseph (February 2012). "Eric Klinenberg on Going Solo: The surprising benefits, to oneself and to society, of living alone". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  9. ^ Klinenberg, Eric (12 March 2012). "1. Living Alone Is The New Norm".
  10. ^ Klinenberg, Eric (January 7, 2013). "Dept. of Urban Planning: Adaptation". The New Yorker. Vol. 88, no. 42. pp. 32–37. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  11. ^ "Modern Romance: An Investigation". Aziz Ansari. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  12. ^ Glamour Magazine (5 March 2014). "Read Hilarious Highlights From Aziz Ansari's "Modern Romantics" Questions on Reddit". Glamour Magazine.
  13. ^ Buttigieg, Pete (14 September 2018). "The Key to Happiness Might Be as Simple as a Library or a Park". New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Home Alone - This American Life". This American Life. 2007-12-21.
  15. ^ "Palaces for the People". Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  16. ^ Klinenberg, Eric (2018-09-08). "Opinion | To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-22.

External links[edit]