American Chameleon: Individualism in Trans-National Context

American Chameleon: Individualism in Trans-National Context

by Lawrence B. Goodheart
     
 

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The concept of individualism that emerged in American society during the late 18th century has long defined America's social, political, and economic institutions. American Chameleon is the first historical work which addresses this concept and its multiple meanings, usages, and contradictions. In this collection of 11 essays, individualism is placed in a comparative,…  See more details below

Overview

The concept of individualism that emerged in American society during the late 18th century has long defined America's social, political, and economic institutions. American Chameleon is the first historical work which addresses this concept and its multiple meanings, usages, and contradictions. In this collection of 11 essays, individualism is placed in a comparative, trans-national context that differentiates the American national experience from its European cultural heritage. The authors analyze meanings and usages of individualism in Europe?particularly France, Germany, and Great Britain?in order to clarify those found in American society. Also examined are the limitations of the concept in relation to minority groups and women. A 19th-centurty perspective of individualism is the central focus of American Chameleon, but the final chapter adds a contemporary dimension. Editors and authors Richard Curry and Lawrence Goodheart herein offer scholars, students and interested citizens new interpretations and a deeper understanding of the past, present, and future of American society itself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although Curry ( Freedom at Risk ) and Goodheart ( Abolitionist, Actuary, Atheist ) clearly aim for an academic audience, general readers, too, will appreciate these 11 erudite but accessible essays on the American concept of individualism. ``The Emergence of an Individualistic Ethos in American Society,'' by Curry and Karl E. Valois, considers some of the factors in the emergence of individualism as this country's dominant ideology in the mid-19th century; among them are the influence of enlightenment ideals, the decline of ``deferential politics'' (in which power is the natural province of a privileged few) and the rise of evangelical Christianity. In ``Can a Woman Be an Individual?'' Linda K. Kerber explores the few ways women historically have been able to gain ``individual authenticity,'' noting that the rhetoric and imagery of individuality have traditionally served the interests of men. Loren Schweninger's ``From Assertiveness to Individualism'' probes black cultural values and shows how the assertiveness demonstrated by slaves who acquired their freedom evolved into ``full-blown individualism'' that, for blacks, could be contradictory and even pernicious. (Dec.)
Booknews
In 11 essays, individualism is placed in a comparative, trans-national context that differentiates the American national-experience from its European cultural heritage. The authors analyze meanings and usages of individualism in Europe--particularly France, German, and Great Britain--in order to clarify those found in American society. Paper edition (unseen), $17.50. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781612770543
Publisher:
Kent State University Press
Publication date:
01/28/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
File size:
668 KB

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