Catalogue


The necessity of politics : reclaiming American public life /
Christopher Beem ; with a foreword by Jean Bethke Elshtain.
imprint
Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press, 1999.
description
xiv, 311 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0226041441 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
series title
imprint
Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press, 1999.
isbn
0226041441 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
3149747
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Christopher Beem directs the Democracy and Community Program at The Johnson Foundation
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, November 1999
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Even in the midst of an economic boom, most Americans would agree that our civic institutions are hard pressed and that we are growing ever more cynical and disconnected from one another. In response to this bleak assessment, advocates of "civil society" argue that rejuvenating our neighborhoods, churches, and community associations will lead to a more moral, civic-minded polity. Christopher Beem argues that while the movement's goals are laudable, simply restoring local institutions will not solve the problem; a civil society also needs politics and government to provide a sense of shared values and ideas. Tracing the concept back to Tocqueville and Hegel, Beem shows that both thinkers faced similar problems and both rejected civil society as the sole solution. He then shows how, in the case of the Civil Rights movement, both political groups and the federal government were necessary to effect a new consensus on race. Taking up the arguments of Robert Putnam, Michael Sandel, and others, this timely book calls for a more developed sense of what the state is for and what our politics ought to be about. "This book is bound to incite controversy and to contribute to our ongoing grappling with where our own democratic political culture is going. . . . Beem helps us to get things right by offering a corrective to any and all visions of civil society sanitized from politics."Jean Bethke Elshtain, from the Foreword "[Beem] makes an impressive case. At the end of the day, there really is no substitute for governmental authority in fostering the moral identity of the body politic."Robert P. George, Times Literary Supplement
Main Description
Even in the midst of an economic boom, most Americans would agree that our civic institutions are hard pressed and that we are growing ever more cynical and disconnected from one another. In response to this bleak assessment, advocates of "civil society" argue that rejuvenating our neighborhoods, churches, and community associations will lead to a more moral, civic-minded polity. Christopher Beem argues that while the movement's goals are laudable, simply restoring local institutions will not solve the problem; a civil society also needs politics and government to provide a sense of shared values and ideas. Tracing the concept back to Tocqueville and Hegel, Beem shows that both thinkers faced similar problems and both rejected civil society as the sole solution. He then shows how, in the case of the Civil Rights movement, both political groups and the federal government were necessary to effect a new consensus on race. Taking up the arguments of Robert Putnam, Michael Sandel, and others, this timely book calls for a more developed sense of what the state is for and what our politics ought to be about.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Most would agree that our civic institutions are hard pressed and that we are growing more cynical and disconnected. Advocates of civil society argue that rejuvenating our neighbourhood, churches and associations will lead to a civic-minded policy.
Table of Contents
Forewordp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
The Concept of Civil Society
The Concept of Civil Society and the Contemporary Predicamentp. 9
The Concept of Civil Society and the Modern Problematicp. 42
The Progenitors of Civil Society
The Tocquevillian Traditionp. 55
The Tocquevillian Legacyp. 76
The Hegelian Traditionp. 94
Civil Society in the Polish Solidarity Movementp. 111
The Product of Two Traditionsp. 128
The Insufficiency of Civil Society
Tocqueville, Hegel, and the Sufficiency of Civil Societyp. 145
The Contemporary Concept and the Question of Sufficiencyp. 161
The Necessity of Politics
Medium Party Political Associationsp. 197
Government and the Construction of the Moral Societyp. 218
The American State as a Moral Actorp. 235
Notesp. 261
Indexp. 303
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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