Building a Healthy Culture: Strategies for an American Renaissance

Overview

This book is about culture -- the state of American culture, why culture matters, and what can be done to promote cultural health, Composed of essays by well-known thinkers and unique in the breadth and depth of its discussion, this timely and constructive work argues for the importance of cultural health in maintaining a free and civil society and explores the theme of cultural renewal in many different sectors of life -- family life, vocations, the media, and more.

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Overview

This book is about culture -- the state of American culture, why culture matters, and what can be done to promote cultural health, Composed of essays by well-known thinkers and unique in the breadth and depth of its discussion, this timely and constructive work argues for the importance of cultural health in maintaining a free and civil society and explores the theme of cultural renewal in many different sectors of life -- family life, vocations, the media, and more.

As the contributors insightfully show, much of the moral and social breakdown in America is being fueled by cultural influences. The great challenge for this generation is both to think more seriously about culture and to develop initiatives and reform movements for positive change. Contrary to the common belief that major problems in our culture -- moral license, sexual promiscuity, divorce, the loss of shame, shock, and manners -- can be corrected through political action, the remedy pursued in this volume is to promote cultural renewal through cultural means -- to replace bad culture with good culture.

The chapters in the first section of the book, "The Imperative of Building a Healthy Culture," focus on the ramifications of cultural decay, not only for individuals and families but for society as a whole. The second section, "Historical Models for Cultural Transformation," discusses transformative public movements and figures of the past, which provide insight for us as we seek cultural renewal today. Finally, in "Strategies for Cultural Renewal," organizers and scholars of numerous reform movements today -- in areas ranging from courtship to community revitalization to journalism -- describe the work currently being done and the work that still needs to be done to revitalize our culture.

The objective of Building a Healthy Culture is to start the process of recovery by addressing what may be the core problem -- the lack of any meaningful discussion of long-term strategies to permeate and recover the culture. The book does not merely detail the current state of cultural decay in America but also takes the hopeful position that our culture can in fact be improved and it offers politically balanced models for reform, many of which use voluntary associations to address a specific social or moral problem. If recent public opinion polls are correct, Americans long for an elevation of cultural standards. This book provides a significant blueprint for accomplishing just that.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802849182
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Pages: 557
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xi
Introduction: The Moral and Intellectual Framework 1
I. The Imperative of Building A Healthy Culture
The Cultural Underpinnings of America's Democratic Experiment 41
The Culture's Impact on World Affairs 59
The Culture's Impact on Social Pathologies 70
The Culture: "Upstream" from Politics 76
The Homogenization of Culture 102
The Moral Grounds for Advancing Cultural Health: Whose Standards? 115
II. Historical Models for Cultural Transformation
Victorian England: The Charity Aid Society 139
William Wilberforce 159
Nineteenth-Century America 181
Antonio Gramsci and the Transformation of Institutions 200
Oasis Strategies 219
Radical Vision: Christopher Lasch and the Quest for Community 226
The Communitarian Model 246
Minister to Freedom: The Legacy of John Witherspoon 260
Catholic Moral Teachings: Subsidiarity 280
III. Strategies for Cultural Renewal
Mass Social Movements: Essays by Movement Organizers and Scholars
Fatherhood 301
Character and Ethics 311
Marriage 323
Faith-based Charities 332
The Reformation of Manners 347
Teen Abstinence 357
Courtship 368
Sexual Ethics 380
Community Revitalization 394
The Demand Side of Television 416
The Supply Side of Television and Film 424
Technology and the Internet 450
Fashion 461
Reform of Professions and Elite Fields
The Professions 477
Journalism 485
Bioethics 498
The Arts 507
An Overview of Academia 515
The Humanities 527
Contributors 538
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