Culture Wars and Enduring American Dilemmas (Contemporary by Irene Taviss Thomson

By Irene Taviss Thomson

"Irene Taviss Thomson supplies us a nuanced portrait of yank social politics that is helping clarify either why we're interested in the belief of a 'culture warfare' and why that misrepresents what's truly going on."---Rhys H. Williams, Professor and Chair, division of Sociology, Loyola college Chicago"An vital paintings showing---beneath floor conflict---a deep consensus on a few beliefs by way of social elites."---John H. Evans, division of Sociology, collage of California, San DiegoThe notion of a tradition warfare, or wars, has existed in the USA because the 1960s---an underlying ideological schism in our nation that's chargeable for the polarizing debates on every thing from the separation of church and nation, to abortion, to homosexual marriage, to affirmative motion. Irene Taviss Thomson explores this inspiration through reading 1000s of articles addressing hot-button concerns over 20 years from 4 magazines: nationwide evaluation, Time, the hot Republic, and The kingdom, in addition to a wide range of different writings and statements from a considerable variety of public intellectuals.What Thomson reveals may shock you: in keeping with her examine, there is not any unmarried cultural divide or cultural resource that may account for the positions which were followed. whereas matters similar to faith, homosexuality, sexual behavior, and abortion have figured prominently in public dialogue, actually there isn't any unmarried thread that unifies responses to every of those cultural dilemmas for any of the writers.Irene Taviss Thomson is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, having taught within the division of Social Sciences and heritage at Fairleigh Dickinson college for greater than 30 years. formerly, she taught within the division of Sociology at Harvard college.

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But is there some essence that de‹nes American culture? If one contends that there is no “war” over “the meaning of America,” how is this meaning to be de‹ned? Over the years, various analysts—most notably, perhaps, Robin Williams (1957), Herbert Gans (1980), and Seymour Martin Lipset (1996)—have produced lists of core American values. However credible these lists may seem to be, they remain both static and simpli‹ed. They fail to indicate the ambiguities and contradictions attached to each particular trait.

Religious institutions “provide a space that is relatively untouched by the commercialization of the larger society” and can thus serve as “centers of a counterculture, pockets of resistance [to] the dominant bureaucratic culture” (Ferber 1985, 12). ” Religion can help us “to imagine creatively different ways of organizing economies and politics” (Cox 1996, 23). “The bashing of religious faith serves neither Respect for Religion but Uncertainty about Its Role 39 our democratic principles nor the practical need to build a culturally inclusive mass movement” (Kazin 1998, 19).

Americans have wrestled with issues of religion and morality in ways that manifestly differ 28 culture wars and enduring american dilemmas from those of their European counterparts, who have not experienced the extremes of a constitutional amendment banning alcohol or the outright ban on prostitution, for example. Lipset and others have argued that unlike other nations, whose citizens belong as a matter of birthright, the United States was born out of revolution, and its unity hinges on a shared creed.

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