Paul Starr

Professor, Princeton University | Author, "Entrenchment"
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Known for his blend of idealism and pragmatism, Paul Starr is one of the country’s most eloquent speakers on politics, social trends and public policy.

His current book, Defining the Age: Daniel Bell, His Time and Ours, coauthored with Julian Zelizer, discusses the sociologist Daniel Bell's uncommonly acute observation of the structural forces transforming the United States. They bring together a group of distinguished contributors to consider how well Bell’s ideas captured their historical moment and continue to provide profound insights into today’s world.

Politics: Paul’s book, Entrenchment: Wealth, Power, and the Constitution of Democratic Societies, is an investigation into the foundations of democratic societies. In this wide-ranging book, Starr examines how changes at the foundations of society become hard to reverse — yet sometimes are overturned.

His important book on the central ideas of liberal political thought, Freedom’s Power: The True Force of Liberalism, is a clear and concise statement of what liberalism is about, how it has developed, and how it ought to be conceived and fought for. And his book The Creation of the Media: The Political Origins of American Communications won the Goldsmith Book Prize.

Healthcare: Probably no one knows more about how we got where we are in healthcare today than Paul Starr. He is uniquely qualified to speak on the history and the future of healthcare in America.

The book, The Social Transformation of American Medicine, about the history of healthcare in America, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and has helped shape the debate about healthcare reform ever since. Paul closed his book with some predictions about where American healthcare seemed to be going when he wrote it in 1982. Since then, virtually all of these predictions have come true. Paul has returned to this subject with the intelligence, thoroughness and insight that made Social Transformation so valuable. In his book, Remedy and Reaction, Paul examines the history of America’s struggle over health care reform and how the United States ensnared itself in a trap through policies and politics made too difficult to change.

He has written dozens of articles on healthcare and testified before congress on the subject three times. The Social Transformation of American Medicine has become a standard in disciplines from health law to political science and history. In 2004, a twenty-year retrospective on Social Transformation was published entitled Transforming American Medicine.

Paul Starr holds the Stuart Chair in Communications and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, at Princeton University. He is co-editor of The American Prospect, a liberal quarterly about politics, policy, and ideas that he founded with journalist Robert Kuttner and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. He has appeared before numerous congressional committees and on national TV news programs.

Paul Starr is a very fine speaker. He comes extremely well prepared and speaks with intelligence, eloquence and quiet authority.


  • Princeton University Professor of Sociology
  • Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction
  • Former member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
  • Goldsmith book Prize, The Creation of the Media
  • C. Wright Mills Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems
  • Bancroft Prize in American History
  • James Hamilton Award, American College of Health Care Executives
  • Fellow in Law, Science and Medicine, Yale Law School
  • Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
  • White House advisor on health policy
  • Former director, Century Institute


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The American Struggle over Health Care Reform | TEDx
Paul Starr


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