The Rise of the Imperial Self: America's Culture Wars in Augustinian Perspective

Overview

The Rise of the Imperial Self establishes a geneaology of aristocracy and places America firmly within an aristocratic tradition originally articulated by St. Augustine, but adapted to American society by Alexis de Tocqueville. Ronald W. Dworkin then traces the evolution of American culture from Tocqueville's America, when American aristocracy was defined by a love of something beyond the self to today's preoccupation with individuality, self-expression, autonomy, and ...
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Overview

The Rise of the Imperial Self establishes a geneaology of aristocracy and places America firmly within an aristocratic tradition originally articulated by St. Augustine, but adapted to American society by Alexis de Tocqueville. Ronald W. Dworkin then traces the evolution of American culture from Tocqueville's America, when American aristocracy was defined by a love of something beyond the self to today's preoccupation with individuality, self-expression, autonomy, and self-esteem—the "imperial self."

Author Biography: Ronald W. Dworkin is a fellow at the Institue for American Values and co-director of the Calvert Institute for Policy Research.

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Editorial Reviews

First Things
yields some starkingly original insights. . . . is plausible and obviously the product of considerable thought and erudition.
Comptes Rendes
An important contribution to the literature on the historical roots of expressive individualism. . . . the book has great breadth and depth and it covers a large intellectual territory. The book is especially useful for historians, philosophers and psychologists who are interested in the development and maintenance of the imperial self.
— Irene Switankowsky, University of Waterloo
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847682195
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 12/30/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald W. Dworkin is a fellow at the Institue for American Values and co-director of the Calvert Institute for Policy Research.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Pt. 1 America and the City of Man
1 Expressive Individualism, Manicheism, and the "Higher Self" 3
2 The Expressive Individualist, the Donatists, and the Honor of Work 21
3 Christianity, Public Opinion, and Republican Principle in the Imagination of Tocqueville's American 29
4 Pelagianism in the Society of Expressive Individualism 39
5 Donatism in the Society of Expressive Individualism 59
6 Platonism in the Society of Expressive Individualism 75
7 The Expressive Individualist and Self-Esteem 87
8 The Expressive Individualist and the Spirit of Ressentiment 91
Pt. 2 America and the City of God
9 The Creation of the Aristocrat in the City of God 101
10 Tocqueville's American as an Aristocrat in the City of God 121
11 The Fall of the Aristocrat in the City of God and the Rise of the "Organization Man" 139
12 The Rise of the Imperial Self 171
Conclusion 207
Notes 219
Bibliography 241
Index 247
About the Author 251
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