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Diversity and Its Discontents: Cultural Conflict and Common Ground in Contemporary American Society / Edition 1
     

Diversity and Its Discontents: Cultural Conflict and Common Ground in Contemporary American Society / Edition 1

by Neil J. Smelser, Jeffrey C. Alexander
 

ISBN-10: 0691004374

ISBN-13: 9780691004372

Pub. Date: 04/12/1999

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Never before has the legitimacy of a dominant American culture been so hotly contested as over the past two decades. Familiar terms such as culture wars, multiculturalism, moral majority, and family values all suggest a society fragmented by the issue of cultural diversity. So does any social solidarity exist among Americans? In Diversity and Its Discontents,

Overview

Never before has the legitimacy of a dominant American culture been so hotly contested as over the past two decades. Familiar terms such as culture wars, multiculturalism, moral majority, and family values all suggest a society fragmented by the issue of cultural diversity. So does any social solidarity exist among Americans? In Diversity and Its Discontents, a group of leading sociologists, political theorists, and social historians seek to answer this question empirically by exploring ideological differences, theoretical disputes, social processes, and institutional change. Together they present a broad yet penetrating look at American life in which cultural conflict has always played a part. Many of the findings reveal that this conflict is no more or less rampant now than in the past, and that the terms of social solidarity in the United States have changed as the society itself has changed.

The volume begins with reflections on the sources of the current "culture wars" and goes on to show a number of parallel situations throughout American history--some more profound than today's conflicts. The contributors identify political vicissitudes and social changes in the late twentieth century that have formed the backdrop to the "wars," including changes in immigration, marriage, family structure, urban and residential life, and expression of sexuality. Points of agreement are revealed between the left and the right in their diagnoses of American culture and society, but the essays also show how the claims of both sides have been overdrawn and polarized. The volume concludes that above all, the antagonists of the culture wars have failed to appreciate the powerful cohesive forces in Americans' outlooks and institutions, forces that have, in fact, institutionalized many of the "radical" changes proposed in the 1960s. Diversity and Its Discontents brings sound empirical evidence, theoretical sophistication, and tempered judgment to a cultural episode in American history that has for too long been clouded by ideological rhetoric.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are Seyla Benhabib, Jean L. Cohen, Reynolds Farley, Claude S. Fischer, Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr., John Higham, David A. Hollinger, Steven Seidman, Marta Tienda, David Tyack, R. Stephen Warner, Robert Wuthnow, and Viviana A. Zelizer.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691004372
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/12/1999
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Contributorsvii
Part 1Introduction: Sources of Cultural Conflict1
Chapter 1Introduction: The Ideological Discourse of Cultural Discontent
Paradoxes, Realities, and Alternative Ways of Thinking3
Chapter 2The Culture of Discontent
Democratic Liberalism and the Challenge of Diversity in Late-Twentieth-Century America19
Part 2How Much has Really Changed?37
Chapter 3Cultural Responses to Immigration39
Chapter 4Preserving the Republic by Educating Republicans63
Chapter 5Racial Issues: Recent Trends in Residential Patterns and Intermarriage85
Chapter 6Immigration, Opportunity, and Social Cohesion129
Chapter 7Family Change and Family Diversity147
Chapter 8Contesting the Moral Boundaries of Eros
A Perspective on the Cultural Politics of Sexuality in the Late-Twentieth-Century United States167
Part 3Social Change and New Forms of Social Connection191
Chapter 9Multiple Markets: Multiple Cultures193
Chapter 10Uncommon Values, Diversity, and Conflict in City Life213
Chapter 11Changes in the Civic Role of Religion229
Part 4Rethinking Diversity and Social Solidarity245
Chapter 12National Culture and Communities of Descent247
Chapter 13Does Voluntary Association Make Democracy Work?263
Chapter 14Civil Society and the Politics of Identity and Difference in a Global Context293
Index313

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