Cultural Wars in American Politics: Critical Reviews of a Popular Myth

Cultural Wars in American Politics: Critical Reviews of a Popular Myth

by Rhys H. Williams
     
 

That contemporary American politics is divided into two differing ideological, moral, and lifestyle groups - a divide so severe as to constitute a "cultural war" - is a widely-held popular belief. The most systematic academic version of the culture wars claim has appeared in two influential books by sociologist James Davison Hunter, the earlier dating from 1991.… See more details below

Overview

That contemporary American politics is divided into two differing ideological, moral, and lifestyle groups - a divide so severe as to constitute a "cultural war" - is a widely-held popular belief. The most systematic academic version of the culture wars claim has appeared in two influential books by sociologist James Davison Hunter, the earlier dating from 1991. Hunter's formulation of the myth serves the contributors to this volume as a point of departure. They add more measured analyses to the rhetorical overstatement in Hunter's claim, assessing its accuracy with a broad range of evidence based on individual attitudes, subcultural values, political party dynamics, and culture-wide ideological currents. On every level of analysis, the contributors find that Hunter's bipolar axis obscures the variety of ways in which culture actually functions in current politics. That variety receives the nuanced treatment it deserves in this collection. Examining the full range of sources of cultural politics and offering competing models for understanding the current ideological landscape, this volume will be useful in a variety of classroom and seminar settings, from political sociology and social movements to contemporary American culture and the sociology of religion.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780202305639
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
12/31/1997
Series:
Social Problems and Social Issues Series
Pages:
299
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

About the Contributors
Acknowledgments
1Introduction1
2What American Culture War? A View from the Trenches as Opposed to the Command Posts and the Press Corps17
3A War for America's Soul? The American Religious Landscape39
4Have Americans' Social Attitudes Become More Polarized?63
5Religious Affiliation, Commitment, and Ideology among U.S. Elites101
6Culture Wars? Insights from Ethnographies of Two Protestant Seminaries121
7Culture Wars and the Party System: Religion and Realignment, 1972-1993145
8Civility or the Culture Wars in Politics and Religion: Case Study of Oliver North in Virginia159
9The Myth of Culture Wars: The Case of American Protestantism175
10Lambs among the Lions: America's Culture Wars in Cross-Cultural Perspective199
11Religion, Ideology, and Electoral Politics221
12Dimensions of Cultural Tension among the American Public237
13Culture Wars(?): Remapping the Battleground259
Culture Wars, Social Movements, and Institutional Politics283
Index297

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