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Spring Symposium on UR and Community Engagement has ended
Tuesday, April 24 • 1:00pm - 1:20pm
A Liberal Mystique: Pragmatist Reflections On Contemporary American Life

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Individual Americans are growing more atomistic every year. Recent studies have suggested that emerging adults - the next generation of citizens - are adopting moral individualism in a society that structurally prevents participatory citizenship. At the same time, political science research reports that social capital is in decline in the United States. This problem has been talked about by many, but scholars have failed to organize this social ennui under a single name. Nonetheless, the problem is ubiquitous: American society fails to maintain an engaged, caring populace and has suffered greatly because of it. American endoxa tend to value individualism, specialization, and marketability as virtues. The marriage of individualistic neoliberal social and political thought with postmodernism’s skeptical constructivism has produced a static citizenry. Drawing on an interdisciplinary set of texts in social and political thought, this paper weaves a narrative that identifies their shared thematic concerns. I appraise and offer insight into formal and informal public institutions by employing a pragmatist framework. In renewing dedication to inclusive, deliberative, and expressive democratic ideals, we may - as Richard Rorty said and James Baldwin before him - achieve our country.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 1:00pm - 1:20pm
236 Zageir Hall

Attendees (3)