American Political Cultures
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American Political Cultures

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Description

This work challenges the thesis first formulated by de Tocqueville and later systematically developed by Louis Hartz, that American political culture is characterized by a consensus on liberal capitalist values. Ranging over three hundred years of history and drawing upon the seminal work anthropologist Mary Douglas, Richard Ellis demonstrates that American history is best understood as a contest between five rival political cultures: egalitarian community, competitive individualism, hierarchical collectivism, atomized fatalism, and autonomous hermitude.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 264 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 20.3mm | 477.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0195111389
  • 9780195111385

Review quote

"Ellis has produced a work that is wide-ranging, stimulating and invites us to see American political debate in a new perspective."-Political Studies "American Political Cultures is the most original reinterpretation of the political ideas and behaviors that have made America exceptional since Vernon Parrington's Main Currents in American Thought."-Aaron Wildavsky, University of California, Berkeley "Ellis brings to the study of American political culture and thought a perspective that is fresh, comprehensive, and powerful. He repeatedly confronts the work of leading figures in these fields and regularly provides superior explanations."-Charles Lockhart, Texas Christian University "Enjoyable, informative, and often provocative."-The Historian "Written in a clear and concise manner, Ellis succeeds in throwing considerable light and coherence on the American political experience. The book takes issue with the monistic view that a liberal consensus has underlain the political experience of the United States-that the outlook of competitive individualism has asserted hegemonic sway over the nation. American Political Cultures can command a wide academic audience. It possesses heuristic value for scholars and graduate students in both history and political science."-Major L. Wilson, Memphis State University "Richard Ellis's book is an impressive demonstration of learning and critical interpretation."-Daniel H. Howe, Oxford University "American Political Cultures is a thoughtful and intellectually ambitious reading of our past."-Contemporary Sociology "A valuable critical survey of the latest scholarship on the history of America's troublesome political culture."-American Historical Review "His typology links diverse political traditions, historical movements, and cultural patterns of action together in often very insightful ways. In the end, it provides a useful and clear map of a road well traveled by those who have tried to come to terms with the complexity of American political life."-American Political Science Reviewshow more

Back cover copy

Few observers of American political culture have failed to comment on the individualistic character of the American people. Most truisms are not without validity, and this one is no exception. As a starting point the proposition may be satisfactory, but as a conclusion this pat formula disguises far more than it reveals about American political values and social relations.show more

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