God, Guns, Gold and Glory: American Character and its Discontents

God, Guns, Gold and Glory: American Character and its Discontents

by Lauren Langman, George Lundskow


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God, Guns, Gold and Glory: American Character and its Discontents by Lauren Langman, George Lundskow

From a small group of devout Puritan settlers, the USA ultimately became the richest, most powerful Empire in the history of the world. Yet it is now in a process of implosion and decay. This book, inspired by Frankfurt School Critical Theory, offers a unique historical, cultural and characterological analysis of American national character and its underlying psychodynamics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608468362
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Publication date: 12/05/2017
Series: Studies in Critical Social Sciences Series
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Lauren Langman ( PhD University of Chicago, 1969) is Professor of Sociology at Loyola University of Chicago. He has published widely in critical theory and social movements, e.g. Alienation and the Carnivalization of Society (Routledge, 2012) which he co-edited with Jerome Braun and recent volumes on hegemony and Arab Spring/Occupy.

George Lundskow (Ph.D. University of Kansas, 1999) is Professor of Sociology at Grand Valley State University. He publishes on God, Money, and Power from a class-cultural and psychoanalytic perspective and embraces work across disciplines that bring passion and insight to vital issues.

Table of Contents

Preface: What’s the matter with the United States?
The Fault Lies Within
Enter the Frankfurt School
Changing American Social Character: The Prelude to Socialism
Chapter Outline

1. Introduction
Erich Fromm and Social Character
The Social Character of Elites: Dominators and Destroyers
Character and Contradictions
The Origins and Rise of the Modern Social Character
The Mayflower Arrived and its Legacy Endured
The Waning of Puritanical Sexuality
Commerce and the Colonies
The Polarities of Social Character
American Mythology
Social Character Today
Toward A New Character Typology
The Authoritarian-Destructive Orientation
The Dynamics of Fear and Power
The Social Dominator

2. God and His Chosen People: Act II
New England
The Deep South
Religion, Contradictions and Character
Religion and Culture
The Midwest
Religion and Culture Today
The Religious Right and Left
Religion and Social Character

3. America: Chasing the Pot of Gold
Character and Political-Economy
Back to the Past
They’re Back!
The Pitchforks are Coming!
The Rise of Predatory Banksters
Too Big to Fail, To Powerful to Jail
Spoiled by Success
Detroit Falls to the Bankster Hordes
Hostile Takeovers-The Social Dominators at Work
The Social Dominator

4. Guns: Violence, Gender and American Character
God, Guns and the Colonizer
From the Seaboard Colonies to the Western Frontier
In Real America, Real Men Shoot, Kill, and Destroy
Chris Kyle—Mass Killer and American Hero
Big Balls and the Phallus in American Sport
Work and Sport
Instrumental Aggression and Character
Pom-Poms and Male Power
Phallic Worship
God Bless American Violence

5. Glory: The Rise and Fall of American Exceptionalism
From Chosen to Exceptional
Puritan Co-existence?
De Tocqueville: On Americans as Exceptional
The Land of the Free-For White Males
Manifest Destiny—Exceptionalism as Political Doctrine
If They are not Willing…
Exceptional…How Exactly?
The Sorrows of American Exceptionalism
The Unwinding of Exceptionalism
American Exceptionalism is Really Authoritarianism
Cultural Narcissism

6. The Sorrows of American Character
The Rise, Fall and Regeneration of American Character
Genesis: The Rise of the Americans
The Fall
The Crises of Empire
Coming Soon: Election 2016 POTUS as American Character
It’s the Economy Stupid!
It’s Not Just the Economy Stupid!
Variations on a Theme
Holy Moly: Is This a Culture War Batman!
History, Social Change and Social Character
Dynamic Character Change
Sturm, Drang and the Bearers of Change
The Social Psychology of Social Movements
Needed: A War of Position
Social Movement o0rganizations

7. 49 Shades of Social Character and One More on the Way
Can Reforms Reform?
The Return of the Repressed
Progressive Regression in the Service of Humanity
Back to the Commune
The Commune as Moral Regeneration
Toward a Sane Society: Step 1-Transforming the Political Economy
Toward a Sane Society: Step 2-Democratizing Democracy
Toward a Sane Society: Step 3-After God What Comes Next
On Being and Having
What is to be Done?
To the Barricades

8. Epilogue
Resurrecting The Frankfurt School
The Resurrection of Critical Theory
Toward a Better Future


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