Tortoise Lunch ThinkIn with Robert Putnam – Who are "we"? Building communities that work for the 21st century

Monday 2 September 2019

Duration: 1:00PM - 2:00PM

16-19 Eastcastle Street, London, W1W 8DY

Status: Completed

America is starkly unequal, fiercely polarised, and deeply fragmented. It’s been like that before in its history, but at the beginning of the 20th century American society began to turn itself around. It became more equal, less polarised, more committed to family and community. In a UK which shares some of modern America’s worrying traits, what lessons can we learn from America’s past and present? Robert Putnam is one of the most celebrated political scientists alive today; a man whose research on community and society have shaped a generation of thinking.

Our special guest is Robert Putnam, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University.

Chair: Ceri Thomas, Editor and Partner, Tortoise.

What is a Tortoise ThinkIn?

A ThinkIn is not another panel discussion. It is a forum for civilised disagreement. Modelled on what we call a ‘leader conference’ in the UK (or an editorial board in the US), it is a place where everyone has a seat at the table. It’s where we get to hear what you think, drawn from your experience, energy and expertise. It’s where, together, we sift through what we know to come to a clear, concise point of view. It is the heart of what we do at Tortoise.

Lunch from 12.45pm, starts promptly at 1pm. If you are late to a ThinkIn you can ‘SlinkIn’!

If you would like to contribute to this ThinkIn, let us know by emailing

We film our Thinkins so we can watch them back, edit the best bits and share them with members who weren’t there in person.

Members can find their ThinkIn booking code in My Tortoise, under My Membership.