The Nature of Civic Culture
Philosophy and Civil Society

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1. The Cultural Creation of Citizens
Liberal democracies must be supported by a special form of culture, one capable of producing the free and equal individuals that make up the constituency of the liberal democratic state. (1,337 words, 19KB)

2. The Rhetorical Analysis of Civic Culture
A civic culture, as a countervailing form of culture, has a unique rhetorical task that requires special rhetorical resources. (2,030 words, 25KB)

3. The Moral Pathos of Citizenship
A civic culture must be able to support attitudes and dispositions that deeply conflict with the standpoint and values proper to communitarian moral ideals and that require citizens to engage in a complex and even dangerous moral balancing act. (1,538 words, 21KB)

4. The De-Totalizing Function of Civic Culture
An effective civic culture is one that develops in citizens the capacity to use their primary moral vocabularies with a certain kind of detachment or ironic distance, thereby opening a space for the exercise of the secondary moral vocabulary of citizenship. (2,483 words, 30KB)

5. Civic Freedom and Its Discontents
Civic freedom requires that citizens view their own conceptions of the good as a matter of choice and as a matter of a choice that is revocable; because a conception of the good serves as the principle that orders and gives meaning to desire, civic freedom entails a certain attitude of detachment from the primary source of order and meaning in life. (2,295 words, 26KB)

6. The Narrative Construction of Civic Freedom
The capacity for civic freedom is the capacity to construct life narratives as open-criterion narratives, i.e., as life narratives whose narrative closure is never fixed once and for all, but always open for choice. (3,608 words, 40KB)

7. Civic Freedom and the Narrative Basis of Civic Rationality
The capacity for civic rationality as well as the capacity for civic freedom are developed through the practice of a special kind of narrative imagination. (2,136 words, 27KB)

8. Civic Justice and the Narrative Neutralization of Social Hierarchies
Development of a capacity for civic justice depends on development of a capacity to neutralize imaginatively the narrative bonds of communitarian solidarity, thereby permitting the creation of a space independent of all social hierarchies, a space wherein citizens can meet one another as equals. (3,415 words, 39KB)

9. The Civic Good as the Affirmation of Particularistic Desire
Rather than appealing to metaphysical notions of universal human or individual rights, postmodern liberal democratic civic culture can motivate pursuit of the civic good by pointing to the way in which the practice of civic equality is designed to eliminate all quasi-natural obstacles to human aspiration. (4,119 words, 47KB)

10. Civic Friendship, Communitarian Solidarity, and the Story of Liberty
Citizens, as they collectively pursue the civic good, are united by the bond of civic friendship -- a bond of affection that differs significantly from and can even conflict with the bond of communitarian solidarity. (2,693 words, 33KB)

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Page last edited: 02/03/02

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