2020: The Year Everything Changed with Eric Klinenberg | Eric Klinenberg on The Majority Report w/ Sam Seder

On May 6, 2024, Eric Klinenberg appeared on the The Majority Report to discuss his new book 2020: One City, Seven People, and the Year Everything Changed, which is now available in stores. Read the description below and then click to watch the video.

Eric Klinenberg, professor in social science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, discusses his recent book 2020: One City, Seven People, and the Year Everything Changed. Professor Eric Klinenberg then joins, as he, Sam, and Emma preface the conversation with the idea of “natural disasters” largely being a function of society’s capacity to deal with natural phenomena, with “2020” looking at what the crises under COVID revealed about the incredibly precarious, fractured, and individualist society of the United States. Expanding on this, Professor Klinenberg tackles the ethnographic nature of this work, and the overwhelming nature of the trauma suffered by the public during the pandemic, something also seen during the Spanish Flu epidemic in the early 20th Century. After further contextualizing the United State’s role as an outlier in many regards when it came to the COVID-19 pandemic, including its supposedly elite levels of preparedness and its disproportionate failure in preventing deaths, Eric walks Sam and Emma through the unique failure that faced the US in the form of a complete abdication of leadership from the federal government – led (at the time) by the Trump Administration – in favor of extreme politicization, nihilism, and polarization at a time where social solidarity was of the utmost importance. Klinenberg looks at the glimmers of hope found throughout these crises, and how the government quickly stamped them out, before exploring the Biden Administration’s particular role in refusing to acknowledge or address the continuing effects of these crises, and the US’ ever-precarious footing heading into the 2024 election.

Watch the episode here.

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