Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Marc J. Dunkelman

Marc J. Dunkelman

Marc J. Dunkelman

Fellow in International and Public Affairs


Marc J. Dunkelman is a fellow in International and Public Affairs. His work at Brown focuses on how the evolving architecture of American community has affected the workings of government, the dynamism of the American economy, and the resilience of the American social safety net. In 2014, W.W. Norton published his first book, The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community.

During more than a dozen years working in Washington, Dunkelman served as a senior fellow at the Clinton Foundation, on the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as legislative director and chief of staff to a member of the House of Representatives, and as the vice president for strategy and communications at the Democratic Leadership Council. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, Daily Beast, and National Affairs, among other publications.


  • “Invite Your Neighbors Over for a Barbecue This Weekend,” New York Times, May 26, 2017.
  • “To Protect America, James Madison Advised Us to ‘Extend the Sphere.’ Now, It’s Contracting.” Daily Beast, February 19, 2017
  • “The Key to Reviving American Institution May Lie Next Door,” The Atlantic, September 9, 2015.
  • “Foundations Can Help Transform How We Care for Aging Americans,” Chronicle of Philanthropy, December 17, 2014.
  • “How Quality Time is Killing American Innovation,” Harvard Business Review, December 1, 2014
  • “Americas Tolerance Dilemma,” Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2014.
  • “What Data Can’t Convey,” Chronicle of Higher Education, August 19, 2014.

Talks & Media

Why You're the Reason Washington's Broken | Marc Dunkelman | TEDxTraverseCity

News|Recent News

Welcome to the app-i-fication of friendship (comments by Marc Dunkelman)

April 18, 2018 The Outline

Public Policy Fellow Marc Dunkleman, said he loves the idea of an ecosystem of entrepreneurs "trying to figure out ways to address" the lack of person-to-person connection in today's society, but he criticized startups for setting up meetings between like-minded people who may not learn more about the world from talking to each other.


Community (interview with Marc Dunkelman)

February 20, 2018 Breached Podcast

Marc Dunkelman, Fellow in Public Policy, joined the Breached Podcast to discuss how we define the boundaries of an American community, legally, politically, and practically. 


A Gathering Seeks Levers to Rebuild Public Good (Watson Institute faculty mentioned)

October 25, 2017 Nonprofit Quarterly

Public Policy Fellow Marc Dunkelman and sociology professor Michael Kennedy are mentioned in an article about a panel they participated in at the inaugural Greater Good Gathering, a conference "aimed to look 'deeply and cross-disciplinarily at how the means for addressing and promoting the Greater Good may be changing in today's world.'" 


Is America getting lonelier? (Marc Dunkelman mentioned)

August 7, 2017 The Washington Post

Commentary by columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. on shifting relationships among Americans, particularly in neighborhoods, focuses on work by Marc Dunkelman, a Watson Institute fellow who wrote “The Vanishing Neighbor” in 2014. 


Next-Door Strangers: The Crisis of Urban Anonymity (written by Marc Dunkelman)

July 20, 2017 The Hedgehog Review

Public Policy Fellow Marc Dunkleman in the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture's Hedgehog Review, "The demands of democratic government—the fact that power flowed up from the grassroots—prompted similarly situated strangers to get to know one another in pursuit of the common good."


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