The Politics of Culture: Race, Violence, and Democracy

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995 - Social Science - 171 pages
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Postmodern philosophy is shown to be a valuable tool for exposing the bankruptcy of laissez-faire economics and culture and in developing a democratic policy. Despite the claims made by conservatives, Choi, Callaghan, and Murphy argue that an unencumbered market does not encourage pluralism. Sources of power are left intact that work in various ways to truncate democracy. Postmodernism offers an alternative to the conservative ideology and provides a new approach to promoting social equity.

The protests in Los Angeles during the spring of 1992 signaled that the United States is a troubled society. Specifically, many people are not close to experiencing democracy. This is the case even though American society is becoming increasingly diverse. Certain powerful interests constrict the American policy in very important ways. Postmodern philosophy is used by Choi, Callaghan, and Murphy to illustrate how this control is maintained through the manipulation of symbolism and other cultural factors. Accordingly, they contend, new symbolism is needed before a democratic, pluralistic polity can be said to exist. Postmodernism is also employed to show how a democratic mode of order can be conceptualized.

Contrary to what some critics claim, Postmodernism is a worldly philosophy that has much to say about contemporary issues. This volume of cultural criticism will be of interest to political philosophers, sociologists, and others concerned with current social and political problems.


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Laissezfaire and the Moral Dimension
Morals Are Back Again
The Fallout from Laissezfaire
A Case of Pluralism Denied
Some Thoughts on Violence Again
Conservatives Civil Unrest and Class
Poverty and Sociologism
What Is Structural About the Economy?
A Recent Example of Cinema Vérité and the Ideology of Crime
Private vs Public A Dubious Distinction?
Law Enforcement Institutionalized Violence and Community Control of Policing
Social Imagery and Democratization
Symbolic Violence and the Disembodiment of Identity
The Significance of Postmodernism for Race Relations
Why Assimilationists Are Afraid of Postmodernists
Suggested Readings

The CultureofPoverty Thesis Revisited
Modernity the Economy and the Democratization of Economic Life
Democracy and Culture

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Popular passages

Page 163 - Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess, Introduction to the Science of Sociology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965); Milton M.
Page 163 - Milton Gordon, Assimilation in American Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964); Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Beyond the Melting Pot (Cambridge: MIT and Harvard University Press, 1963).

About the author (1995)

JUNG MIN CHOI is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Barry University.

KAREN A. CALLAGHAN, Associate Professor of Sociology, Barry University, is the author of Ideals of Feminine Beauty (Greenwood Press, 1994).

JOHN W. MURPHY is Professor of Sociology, University of Miami. Choi and Murphy have worked together on earlier projects, including The Politics and Philosophy of Political Correctness (Praeger, 1992).

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