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The Search for Political Community

The Search for Political Community
American Activists Reinventing Commitment


Part of Cambridge Cultural Social Studies

  • Date Published: September 1996
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521483438

£ 35.99

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About the Authors
  • This book challenges the myth that Americans' emphasis on personal fulfilment necessarily weakens commitment to the common good. Drawing on extensive participant-observation with a variety of environmentalist groups, Paul Lichterman argues that individualism sometimes enhances public, political commitment and that a shared respect for individual inspiration enables activists with diverse political backgrounds to work together. This personalised culture of commitment has sustained activists working long-term for social change. The book contrasts 'personalised politics' in mainly white environmental groups with a more traditional, community-centred culture of commitment in an African-American group. The untraditional, personalised politics of many recent social movements invites us to rethink common understandings of commitment, community, and individualism in a post-traditional world.

    • Offers in-depth participant-observation of grassroots environmental activism
    • Outlines a new cultural understanding of political commitment in post-traditional, individualistic society
    • Compares and contrasts personalized politics and more traditional, community-centred commitment
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 1996
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521483438
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 8 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Personalism and political commitment
    2. Personalized politics: the case of the US Greens
    3. Speaking out in suburbia
    4. Imagining community, organizing community
    5. Culture, class, and life-ways of activism
    6. Personalized politics and cultural radicalism since the 1960s
    7. The search for political community

  • Author

    Paul Lichterman, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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