Download PDF by Robert Wuthnow: American Mythos: Why Our Best Efforts to Be a Better Nation

By Robert Wuthnow

ISBN-10: 0691138559

ISBN-13: 9780691138558

The USA used to be equipped on tales: stories of thankful immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, Horatio Alger-style alterations, self-made males, and the Protestant paintings ethic. during this new booklet, well known sociologist Robert Wuthnow examines those such a lot American of stories--narratives approximately individualism, immigration, good fortune, faith, and ethnicity--through the eyes of contemporary immigrants. In doing so, he demonstrates how the "American mythos" has either legitimized American society and avoided it from absolutely knowing its beliefs. This magisterial paintings is a mirrored image and meditation at the nationwide awareness. It information how american citizens have routinely depended on narratives to deal with what it potential to be robust, morally liable contributors and to provide an explanation for why a few everyone is extra profitable than others--in brief, to aid us make experience of our lives. however it argues that those narratives have performed little to assist us confront new demanding situations. We move legislation to finish racial discrimination, but lack the get to the bottom of to create a extra equitable society. We welcome the assumption of pluralism in faith and values, but we're shaken by means of the problems immigration offers. We champion prosperity for all, yet stay in a rustic the place households are nonetheless homeless. American Mythos aptly records this disconnect among the tales we inform and the truth we are facing. studying how cultural narratives won't, and infrequently don't, mirror the truth of modern-day society, it demanding situations readers to develop into extra reflective approximately what it skill to reside as much as the yankee perfect.

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39 There was intense loyalty and a great deal of generational continuity among its members, including an internal power structure that reinforced local norms; D E E P C U LT U R E A N D D E M O C R AT I C R E N E WA L 33 Cornerville was, however, disconnected from the world around it. Other sociologists found a similar emphasis on local attachments. 40 Centralized government and mass communication threatened the autonomy of local communities, but these threats were more possibilities than realities.

They articulated more clearly than at any time during the preceding half century the idea that every person was governed by an inner sense of morality and that this sense of morality was sufficiently invariable that persons of modest means and no schooling could function responsibly as citizens, just as persons of higher rank could. This was cultural renewal clear and simple. It redefined the moral capabilities of individuals in a way that rendered democracy possible on an enlarged scale. What became known as commonsense morality was worked out in philosophical and theological discussions at colleges and in seminaries, especially by scholars following the writings of the moderate Scottish moral philosophers Francis Hutcheson and Thomas Reid.

The option of handing over self-government to the masses of diverse, largely uneducated farmers and laborers of which the population was composed was untried and seemed fraught with extreme danger. By the eve of the Civil War, though, a form of popular enfranchisement, as much cultural as political, had been achieved. Its success could in significant measure be attributed to the Jacksonian reforms in governmental practice, but it was also the 30 CHAPTER 1 product of such scattered organizations as Bible societies and temperance unions, revival meetings, Methodist camp meetings, Mormons, Millerite Adventist groups, and Baptist churches.

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American Mythos: Why Our Best Efforts to Be a Better Nation Fall Short by Robert Wuthnow


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