Pragmatism and Social Hope: Deepening Democracy in Global Contexts

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November 2008



Citizens of modern democracies are desperate for a potential philosophy that provides practical answers to the problems of the twenty-first century. Drawing on the wisdom of past and present pragmatist thinkers, Judith M. Green maps a contemporary form of citizenship that emphasizes participation and cooperation and reclaims the critical role of social movements and nonprofits. Her framework rests on the empowering potential of storytelling, truth and reconciliation processes, and collaborative vision-questing, cooperative acts that allow individuals to give voice and meaning to their trauma. From this "second strand" of the democratic experience, leaders and participating citizens can shape a more desirable democratic future.
Beginning with William James, John Dewey, Jane Adams, and Martin Luther King Jr., among others, Green shows how early American thinkers framed a pragmatic approach to emerging realities and possibilities, growing wells of shared truths, multifaceted histories, and mutually transformative experiences of citizenship. She then adds the insights of James Baldwin, Viktor Frankl, Elie Wiesel, Cornel West, and other contemporary thinkers, locating four sites in which citizens can actively effect change: the government, civic organizations, issue-focused campaigns, and related social movements. Green's philosophy shows how citizens can not only revive but also deepen the democratic experience by drawing on their own knowledge and capabilities and by reawakening their activist spirit and sense of shared social hope. According to Green, civic participation is the best antidote to feelings of helplessness and guilt, and its opportunities for multiethnic collaboration contrast sharply with an ethnocentric rejection of shared truths and causes.


AcknowledgmentsIntroduction. Pragmatism and Social Hope: Deepening Democracy in Global Contexts1. Achieving Our Country, Achieving Our World: Rorty, Baldwin, and Social Hope2. American Dreaming: From Loss and Fear to Vision and Hope3. Hope's Progress: Remembering Dewey's Pragmatist Social Epistemology in the Twenty-first Century4. Choosing Our History, Choosing Our Hopes: Truth and Reconciliation Between Our Past and Our Future5. Trying Deeper Democracy: Pragmatist Lessons from the American Experience6. The Continuously Planning City: Imperatives and Examples for Deepening Democracy7. The Hope of Democratic Living: Choosing Active Citizen Participation for Preferable Global FuturesNotesBibliographyIndex


Judith M. Green


Pragmatism and Social Hope is an important contribution. Judith M. Green revives a strand of American pragmatism that was evident in the progressive movements of the first decades of the twentieth century but has, for the most part, been dormant through successive periods of positivism, radicalism, and postmodernism (together with its cousin, neopragmatism). Her book demonstrates how a robust version of pragmatism can affect the lives of human beings and their communities. -- Larry Hickman, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Dewey Studies, Southern Illinois University 8/1/09
EAN: 9780231144582
ISBN: 023114458X
Untertitel: Empfohlen ab 22 Jahre. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: November 2008
Seitenanzahl: 292 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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