Tocqueville between Two Worlds: The Making of a Political and Theoretical Life / Edition 1
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Tocqueville between Two Worlds: The Making of a Political and Theoretical Life / Edition 1

by Sheldon S. Wolin
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691114544

ISBN-13: 9780691114545

Pub. Date: 01/06/2003

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Alexis de Tocqueville may be the most influential political thinker in American history. He also led an unusually active and ambitious career in French politics. In this magisterial book, one of America's most important contemporary theorists draws on decades of research and thought to present the first work that fully connects Tocqueville's political and

Overview

Alexis de Tocqueville may be the most influential political thinker in American history. He also led an unusually active and ambitious career in French politics. In this magisterial book, one of America's most important contemporary theorists draws on decades of research and thought to present the first work that fully connects Tocqueville's political and theoretical lives. In doing so, Sheldon Wolin presents sweeping new interpretations of Tocqueville's major works and of his place in intellectual history. As he traces the origins and impact of Tocqueville's ideas, Wolin also offers a profound commentary on the general trajectory of Western political life over the past two hundred years.

Wolin proceeds by examining Tocqueville's key writings in light of his experiences in the troubled world of French politics. He portrays Democracy in America, for example, as a theory of discovery that emerged from Tocqueville's contrasting experiences of America and of France's constitutional monarchy. He shows us how Tocqueville used Recollections to reexamine his political commitments in light of the revolutions of 1848 and the threat of socialism. He portrays The Old Regime and the French Revolution as a work of theoretical history designed to throw light on the Bonapartist despotism he saw around him. Throughout, Wolin highlights the tensions between Tocqueville's ideas and his activities as a politician, arguing that—despite his limited political success—Tocqueville was ''perhaps the last influential theorist who can be said to have truly cared about political life.''

In the course of the book, Wolin also shows that Tocqueville struggled with many of the forces that constrain politics today, including the relentless advance of capitalism, of science and technology, and of state bureaucracy. He concludes that Tocqueville's insights and anxieties about the impotence of politics in a ''postaristocratic'' era speak directly to the challenges of our own ''postdemocratic'' age. A monumental new study of Tocqueville, this is also a rich and provocative work about the past, the present, and the future of democratic life in America and abroad.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691114545
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
01/06/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
664
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.38(h) x 1.41(d)

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix
INTRODUCTION 3
PART ONE: THE ABUNDANCE OF POWER 11
CHAPTER I: MODERN THEORY AND MODERN POWER 13
CHAPTER II: Theoria: THE THEORETICAL JOURNEY 34
PART TWO: ENCOUNTERING THE AMAZING 57
CHAPTER III: DISCOVERING DEMOCRACY 59
CHAPTER IV: SELF AND STRUCTURE 76
CHAPTER V: DOUBT AND DISCONNECTION 102
CHAPTER VI: " . . . THE THEORY OF WHAT IS GREAT" 113
CHAPTER VII: MYTH AND POLITICAL IMPRESSIONISM 132
CHAPTER VIII: THE SPECTACLE OF AMERICA 149
PART THREE: THE THEORETICAL ENCAPSULATION OF AMERICA CHAPTER IX: SOCIAL CONTRACT VERSUS POLITICAL CULTURE 169
CHAPTER X: THE CULTURE OF THE POLITICAL: "THE RITUALS OF PRACTICE" 202
CHAPTER XI: FEUDAL AMERICA 229
CHAPTER XII: MAJORITY RULE OR MAJORITY POLITICS 241
CHAPTER XIII: CENTRALIZATION AND DISSOLUTION 260
CHAPTER XIV: THE IMAGE OF DEMOCRACY 275
PART FOUR: PERSONA AND THE POLITICS OF THEORY 287
CHAPTER XV: TRAGIC HERO, POPULAR MASK 289
CHAPTER XVI: THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF CULTURE 304
CHAPTER XVII: DEPOTISM AND UTOPIA 339
CHAPTER XVIII: OLD NEW WORLD, NEW OLD WORLD 365
CHAPTER XIX: TOCQUEVILLEAN DEMOCRACY 374
CHAPTER XX: THE PENITENTIARY TEMPTATION 383
PART FIVE: SECOND JOURNEY TO AMERICA 407
CHAPTER XXI: THE POLITICAL EDUCATION OF THE BOURGEOISIE 409 CHAPTER XXII: Souvenirs RECOLLECTIONS IN/TRANQUILLITY 428
CHAPTER XXIII: Souvenirs SOCIALISM AND THE CRISIS OF THE POLITICAL 456
CHAPTER XXIV: The Old Regime and the Revolution: Mythistoricus et theoretieus 498
CHAPTER XXV: The Old Regime: MODERNIZATION AND THE POLITICS OF LOSS 531
CHAPTER XXVI: POSTDEMOCRACY 561
NOTES 573
INDEX 641

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