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Cheers was a sitcom hit in the 80s thanks to a theme tune promising that the fictional bar was a place “where everybody knows you name”. Venues like pubs – away from our homes and workplaces – are vital for building our social networks and making our lives richer, easier and more fun.

But these so-called “Third Places” are in danger. Neighborhood hangouts are closing and membership of clubs, associations and unions is falling. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam has been watching this worrying decline across a lifetime and warns that we need to act before it’s too late.

Robert is author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community and The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again. He also inspired the 2023 film Join or Die.

The Host

Dr. Laurie Santos

Dr. Laurie Santos is Professor of Psychology and Head of Silliman College at Yale University. Professor and podcast host Dr. Laurie Santos is an expert on human cognition and the…