Habits of the heart: individualism and commitment in American life

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Harper & Row, 1985 - Social Science - 355 pages
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"The contemporary benchmark from which to look back and look forward in the continuing inquiry about American character."--Daniel Bell"One of the most penetrating examinations of American individualism I have seen. . . . I hope it will be read and debated for years."--Christopher Lasch, author of "The Culture of Narcissism

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User Review  - Corrientes - LibraryThing

Habits of the Heart is required reading for anyone who wants to understand how religion contributes to and detracts from America's common good. An instant classic upon publication in 1985, it was ... Read full review


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About the author (1985)

Robert N. Bellah, an American sociologist, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1955 and teaches at the University of California at Berkeley. He is best known for his work on community and religion. Although he has written on religions in nonwestern cultures, he has focused much of his research on the notion of civil religion in the West. To Bellah, American society confronts a moral dilemma whereby communalism competes with individualism for domination. His most important book, Habits of the Heart (1985), considers the American character and the decline of community. Bellah holds that the radical split between knowledge and commitment is untenable and can result only in a stunted personal and intellectual growth. He argues for a social science guided by communal values.