Exceptional America

Author: Mugambi Jouet
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520293298
Release Date: 2017-04-03
Genre: Political Science

Why does a country built on the concept of liberty have the highest incarceration rate in the world? How could the first Western nation to elect a person of color as its leader suffer from institutional racism? How does Christian fundamentalism coexist with gay marriage in the American imagination? In essence, what makes the United States exceptional? In this provocative exploration of American exceptionalism, Mugambi Jouet examines why Americans are far more divided than other Westerners over basic issues—including wealth inequality, health care, climate change, evolution, the literal truth of the Bible, abortion, gay rights, gun control, mass incarceration, and war. Drawing inspiration from Alexis de Tocqueville, Jouet, raised in Paris by a French mother and a Kenyan father, wields his multicultural sensibility to parse the ways in which the intense polarization of U.S. conservatives and liberals has become a key dimension of American exceptionalism—an idea widely misunderstood to mean American superiority. Instead, Jouet contends that exceptionalism, once a source of strength, may now spell decline, as unique features of U.S. history, politics, law, culture, religion, and race relations foster grave conflicts and injustices. This book offers a brilliant dissection of the American soul, in all of its outsize, clashing, and striking manifestations.

Exceptional America

Author: Mugambi Jouet
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520966468
Release Date: 2017-04-03
Genre: Social Science

Why did Donald Trump follow Barack Obama into the White House? Why is America so polarized? And how does American exceptionalism explain these social changes? In this provocative book, Mugambi Jouet describes why Americans are far more divided than other Westerners over basic issues, including wealth inequality, health care, climate change, evolution, gender roles, abortion, gay rights, sex, gun control, mass incarceration, the death penalty, torture, human rights, and war. Raised in Paris by a French mother and Kenyan father, Jouet then lived in the Bible Belt, Manhattan, and beyond. Drawing inspiration from Alexis de Tocqueville, he wields his multicultural sensibility to parse how the intense polarization of U.S. conservatives and liberals has become a key dimension of American exceptionalism—an idea widely misunderstood as American superiority. While exceptionalism once was a source of strength, it may now spell decline, as unique features of U.S. history, politics, law, culture, religion, and race relations foster grave conflicts. They also shed light on the intriguing ideological evolution of American conservatism, which long predated Trumpism. Anti-intellectualism, conspiracy-mongering, a visceral suspicion of government, and Christian fundamentalism are far more common in America than the rest of the Western world—Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Exceptional America dissects the American soul, in all of its peculiar, clashing, and striking manifestations.

The American Civilizing Process

Author: Stephen Mennell
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9780745655383
Release Date: 2013-04-24
Genre: Social Science

Since 9/11, the American government has presumed to speak and act in the name of ‘civilization’. But isthat how the rest of the world sees it? And if not, why not? Stephen Mennell leads up to such contemporary questions through a careful study of the whole span of American development, from the first settlers to the American Empire. He takes a novel approach, analysing the USA’s experience in the light of Norbert Elias’s theory of civilizing (and decivilizing) processes. Drawing comparisons between the USA and other countries of the world, the topics discussed include: American manners and lifestyles Violence in American society The impact of markets on American social character American expansion, from the frontier to empire The ‘curse of the American Dream’ and increasing inequality The religiosity of American life Mennell shows how the long-term experience of Americans has been of growing more and more powerful in relation to their neighbours. This has had all-pervasive effects on the way they see themselves, their perception of the rest of the world, and how the rest of the world sees them. Mennell’s compelling and provocative account will appeal to anyone concerned about America's role in the world today, including students and scholars of American politics and society.

The Myth of American Exceptionalism

Author: Godfrey Hodgson
Publisher:
ISBN: 0300125704
Release Date: 2009-01-01
Genre: History

The idea that the United States is destined to spread its unique gifts of democracy and capitalism to other countries is dangerous for Americans and for the rest of the world, warns Godfrey Hodgson in this provocative book. Hodgson, a shrewd and highly respected British commentator, argues that America is not as exceptional as it would like to think; its blindness to its own history has bred a complacent nationalism and a disastrous foreign policy that has isolated and alienated it from the global community. Tracing the development of America’s high self regard from the early days of the republic to the present era, Hodgson demonstrates how its exceptionalism has been systematically exaggerated and—in recent decades—corrupted. While there have been distinct and original elements in America’s history and political philosophy, notes Hodgson, these have always been more heavily influenced by European thought and experience than Americans have been willing to acknowledge. A stimulating and timely assessment of how America’s belief in its exceptionalism has led it astray, this book is mandatory reading for its citizens, admirers, and detractors.

Introducing Social Theory

Author: Pip Jones
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781509505081
Release Date: 2017-11-27
Genre: Social Science

This revised edition of this extremely popular introduction to social theory has been carefully and thoroughly updated with the latest developments in this continually changing field. Written in a refreshingly lucid and engaging style, Introducing Social Theory provides readers with a wide-ranging, well organized and thematic introduction to all the major thinkers, issues and debates in classical and contemporary social theory. Introducing Social Theory traces the development of social theorizing from the classical ideas about modernity of Durkheim, Marx and Weber, right up to a uniquely accessible review of the contemporary theoretical controversies in sociology that surround post-colonialism, gender and feminist theories, and public sociology. The ideal textbook for students of sociology at all levels, from A-level to undergraduates, Introducing Social Theory is remarkably easy to follow and understand. This new edition lives up to its predecessors' goal that students need never be intimidated by social theory again.

The Hero s Fight

Author: Patricia Fernández-Kelly
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400883561
Release Date: 2016-08-23
Genre: Social Science

Baltimore was once a vibrant manufacturing town, but today, with factory closings and steady job loss since the 1970s, it is home to some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in America. The Hero's Fight provides an intimate look at the effects of deindustrialization on the lives of Baltimore’s urban poor, and sheds critical light on the unintended consequences of welfare policy on our most vulnerable communities. Drawing on her own uniquely immersive brand of fieldwork, conducted over the course of a decade in the neighborhoods of West Baltimore, Patricia Fernández-Kelly tells the stories of people like D. B. Wilson, Big Floyd, Towanda, and others whom the American welfare state treats with a mixture of contempt and pity—what Fernández-Kelly calls "ambivalent benevolence." She shows how growing up poor in the richest nation in the world involves daily interactions with agents of the state, an experience that differs significantly from that of more affluent populations. While ordinary Americans are treated as citizens and consumers, deprived and racially segregated populations are seen as objects of surveillance, containment, and punishment. Fernández-Kelly provides new insights into such topics as globalization and its effects on industrial decline and employment, the changing meanings of masculinity and femininity among the poor, social and cultural capital in poor neighborhoods, and the unique roles played by religion and entrepreneurship in destitute communities. Blending compelling portraits with in-depth scholarly analysis, The Hero’s Fight explores how the welfare state contributes to the perpetuation of urban poverty in America.

The One Percent of Solution

Author: Gordon Lafer
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9781501708176
Release Date: 2017-04-01
Genre: Political Science

In the aftermath of the 2010 Citizens United decision, it's become commonplace to note the growing political dominance of a small segment of the economic elite. But what exactly are those members of the elite doing with their newfound influence? The One Percent Solution provides an answer to this question for the first time. Gordon Lafer's book is a comprehensive account of legislation promoted by the nation's biggest corporate lobbies across all fifty state legislatures and encompassing a wide range of labor and economic policies. In an era of growing economic insecurity, it turns out that one of the main reasons life is becoming harder for American workers is a relentless—and concerted—offensive by the country’s best-funded and most powerful political forces: corporate lobbies empowered by the Supreme Court to influence legislative outcomes with an endless supply of cash. These actors have successfully championed hundreds of new laws that lower wages, eliminate paid sick leave, undo the right to sue over job discrimination, and cut essential public services. Lafer shows how corporate strategies have been shaped by twenty-first-century conditions—including globalization, economic decline, and the populism reflected in both the Trump and Sanders campaigns of 2016. Perhaps most important, Lafer shows that the corporate legislative agenda has come to endanger the scope of democracy itself. For anyone who wants to know what to expect from corporate-backed Republican leadership in Washington, D.C., there is no better guide than this record of what the same set of actors has been doing in the state legislatures under its control.

Guys and Guns Amok

Author: Douglas Kellner
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317258483
Release Date: 2015-12-03
Genre: Political Science

From the recent shootings at Virginia Tech University to the tragedies at Columbine and Oklahoma City, certain common traits can be traced through all of these events. In Guys and Guns Amok, media and cultural critic Douglas Kellner provides a fascinating diagnostic reading of these acts of domestic terrorism. Skillfully connecting each case with the current environment for male socialization and the search for identity in an American culture obsessed with guns and militarism, Kellner's work is a sobering reflection on these tragedies and the pervasive power of media and popular culture as well as a wake-up call for the future.

Divided by Faith

Author: Michael O. Emerson
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0195147073
Release Date: 2000
Genre: Religion

Based on a telephone survey of 2,000 people and 200 interviews, the authors study the grassroots of white evangelical America and learn that evangelicals themselves seem to hang on to the nation's racial divide and at this point in time real racial reconciliation remains unsolved by conservative Christians.

Earning the Rockies

Author: Robert D. Kaplan
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780399588228
Release Date: 2017-11-07
Genre: History

An incisive portrait of the American landscape that shows how geography continues to determine America's role in the world-from the bestselling author of The Revenge of Geographyaand Balkan Ghosts As a boy, Robert D. Kaplan listened to his truck-driver father tell evocative stories about traveling across America in his youth, travels in which he learned to understand the country literally from the ground up. There was a specific phrase from Kaplan's childhood that captured this perspective- A westward traveler must oearn the Rockieso by driving-not flying-across the flat Midwest and Great Plains. In Earning the Rockies,Kaplan undertakes his own cross-country journey to recapture an appreciation of American geography often lost in the jet age. Traveling west, in the same direction as the pioneers, Kaplan traverses a rich and varied landscape that remains the primary source of American power. Along the way, he witnesses both prosperity and decline-increasingly cosmopolitan cities that thrive on globalization, impoverished towns denuded by the loss of manufacturing-and paints a bracingly clear picture of America today. The history of westward expansion is examined here in a new light-as a story not just of genocide and individualism, but also of communalism and a respect for the limits of a water-starved terrain, a frontier experience that bent our national character toward pragmatism. Kaplan shows how the great midcentury works of geography and geopolitics by Bernard DeVoto, Walter Prescott Webb, and Wallace Stegner are more relevant today than ever before. Concluding his journey at Naval Base San Diego, Kaplan looks out across the Pacific Ocean to the next frontier- China, India, and the emerging nations of Asia. And in the final chapter, he provides a gripping description of an anarchic world and explains why America's foreign policy response ought to be rooted in its own geographical situation. In this short, intense meditation on the American landscape, Robert D. Kaplan reminds us of an overlooked source of American strength- the fact that we are a nation, empire, and continent all at once. Earning the Rockies is an urgent reminder of how a nation's geography still foreshadows its future, and how we must reexamine our own landscape in order to confront the challenges that lie before us. Praise for Earning the Rockies oA text both evocative and provocative for readers who like toathinka. . .aIn his final sections, Kaplan discusses in scholarly but accessible detail the significant role that America has played and must play in this shuddering world.o-Kirkus Reviews oEarning the Rockiesais a brilliant reminder of the impact of America's geography on its strategy. An essential complement to his previous work on the subject of geostrategy, Kaplan's latest contribution should be required reading.o-Henry A. Kissi

Inventing American Exceptionalism

Author: Amalia D. Kessler
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300198072
Release Date: 2017-01-10
Genre:

A highly engaging account of the developments--not only legal, but also socioeconomic, political, and cultural--that gave rise to Americans' distinctively lawyer-driven legal culture When Americans imagine their legal system, it is the adversarial trial--dominated by dueling larger-than-life lawyers undertaking grand public performances--that first comes to mind. But as award-winning author Amalia Kessler reveals in this engrossing history, it was only in the turbulent decades before the Civil War that adversarialism became a defining American practice and ideology, displacing alternative, more judge-driven approaches to procedure. By drawing on a broad range of methods and sources--and by recovering neglected influences (including from Europe)--the author shows how the emergence of the American adversarial legal culture was a product not only of developments internal to law, but also of wider socioeconomic, political, and cultural debates over whether and how to undertake market regulation and pursue racial equality. As a result, adversarialism came to play a key role in defining American legal institutions and practices, as well as national identity.

The Anomie of the Earth

Author: Federico Luisetti
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822375456
Release Date: 2015-04-29
Genre: Philosophy

The contributors to The Anomie of the Earth explore the convergences and resonances between Autonomist Marxism and decolonial thinking. In discussing and rejecting Carl Schmitt's formulation of the nomos—a conceptualization of world order based on the Western tenets of law and property—the authors question the assumption of universal political subjects and look towards politics of the commons divorced from European notions of sovereignty. They contrast European Autonomism with North and South American decolonial and indigenous conceptions of autonomy, discuss the legacies of each, and examine social movements in the Americas and Europe. Beyond orthodox Marxism, their transatlantic exchanges point to the emerging categories disclosed by the collapse of the colonial and capitalist frameworks of Western modernity. Contributors. Joost de Bloois, Jodi A. Byrd, Gustavo Esteva, Silvia Federici, Wilson Kaiser, Mara Kaufman, Frans-Willem Korsten, Federico Luisetti, Sandro Mezzadra, Walter D. Mignolo, Benjamin Noys, John Pickles, Alvaro Reyes, Catherine Walsh, Gareth Williams, Zac Zimmer

Special Providence

Author: Walter Russell Mead
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781136758676
Release Date: 2013-05-13
Genre: Political Science

"God has a special providence for fools, drunks and the United States of America."--Otto von Bismarck America's response to the September 11 attacks spotlighted many of the country's longstanding goals on the world stage: to protect liberty at home, to secure America's economic interests, to spread democracy in totalitarian regimes and to vanquish the enemy utterly. One of America's leading foreign policy thinkers, Walter Russell Mead, argues that these diverse, conflicting impulses have in fact been the key to the U.S.'s success in the world. In a sweeping new synthesis, Mead uncovers four distinct historical patterns in foreign policy, each exemplified by a towering figure from our past. Wilsonians are moral missionaries, making the world safe for democracy by creating international watchdogs like the U.N. Hamiltonians likewise support international engagement, but their goal is to open foreign markets and expand the economy. Populist Jacksonians support a strong military, one that should be used rarely, but then with overwhelming force to bring the enemy to its knees. Jeffersonians, concerned primarily with liberty at home, are suspicious of both big military and large-scale international projects. A striking new vision of America's place in the world, Special Providence transcends stale debates about realists vs. idealists and hawks vs. doves to provide a revolutionary, nuanced, historically-grounded view of American foreign policy.

Understanding America

Author: Peter H. Schuck
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 9780786745487
Release Date: 2009-04-07
Genre: History

The idea of an exceptional America remains controversial. In this dazzlingly comprehensive collection of essays, some of the nation's best scholars and thinkers take on the weighty task of sizing up Goliath in a way Americans and others can comprehend. These twenty studies in American exceptionalism provide a solidly researched and in-depth analysis on the current state of our institutions, our values, and our challenges for the future.

American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion

Author: John D. Wilsey
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
ISBN: 9780830899296
Release Date: 2015-11-22
Genre: Religion

Ever since John Winthrop told his fellow colonists in 1630 that they were about to establish a City upon a Hill, the idea of having a special place in history has captured the American imagination. Through centuries of crises and opportunities, many have taken up this theme to inspire the nation. But others have criticized the notion because it implies a sense of superiority which can fuel racism, warmongering and even idolatry. In this remarkable book, John Wilsey traces the historical development of exceptionalism, including its theological meaning and implications for civil religion. From seventeenth-century Puritans to twentieth-century industrialists, from politicians to educators, exceptionalism does not appear as a monolithic concept to be either totally rejected or devotedly embraced. While it can lead to abuses, it can also point to constructive civil engagement and human flourishing. This book considers historically and theologically what makes the difference. Neither the term nor the idea of American exceptionalism is going away. John Wilsey s careful history and analysis will therefore prove an important touchstone for discussions of American identity in the decades to come.