Habits of the heart: individualism and commitment in American life

Front Cover
Harper & Row, 1985 - Social Science - 355 pages
15 Reviews
"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

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life

User Review  - Goodreads

I just finished reading a sample of it and find this book a quite eye-opener. It introduces important concepts following the socioeconomic changes in the 1990s, such as the declining social capital ... Read full review

Review: Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life

User Review  - Goodreads

1985 sociological study which offers some genuinely profound insights into how Americans talk themselves into narratives of self-made people and idealized small towns, although markedly biased by its ... Read full review


The Historical Conversation

3 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

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.