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The twilight of common dreams : why America is wracked by culture wars

Author: Todd Gitlin
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, 1995.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In The Twilight of Common Dreams, Todd Gitlin places the debates of the moment in a sweeping historical context and - sparing no sides - he argues that these highly charged conflicts are a sideshow, obscuring a seismic transformation in American political life. The Left, which once stood for universal values, has come to be identified with the special needs of distinct "cultures" and select "identities." The Right,  Read more...
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Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Todd Gitlin
ISBN: 0805040900 9780805040906
OCLC Number: 32665990
Description: viii, 294 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: I. The problem. [Pt.] 1. A dubious battle in Oakland --
II. The exhaustion of commonality. [Pt.] 2. "A prodigious amalgam." The dream, the pot, and the popular front ; Red blood, green lawns, and the grand creed ; The Vietnam crackup and the "anti-American" Left ; The Reagan restoration ; Nothing fails like success --
[Pt.] 3. The fragmentation of the idea of the left. United humanity and the United States ; From a theory to end all classes to a theology without God ; The New Left and the search for surrogate universals --
III. The aggrandizement of difference. [Pt.] 4. The coloring of America? --
[Pt.] 5. Marching on the English department while the right took the White House. The cant of identity ; The beauty and power of blackness ; The ethnic multiplication ; The separatist impulse ; Culture as surrogate politics, campus as surrogate world ; The profusion of identities --
[Pt.] 6. The recoil. The scarlet letters ; The selectivity of media obsessions ; The right turn ; Another dubious battle --
[Pt.] 7. Where we're coming from. Blinded identities ; The shadowed Enlightenment --
IV. The poignancy of multiculturalism. [Pt.] 8. The fate of the commons.
Responsibility: Todd Gitlin.

Abstract:

In The Twilight of Common Dreams, Todd Gitlin places the debates of the moment in a sweeping historical context and - sparing no sides - he argues that these highly charged conflicts are a sideshow, obscuring a seismic transformation in American political life. The Left, which once stood for universal values, has come to be identified with the special needs of distinct "cultures" and select "identities." The Right, long associated with privileged interests, now claims to defend the needs of all. The consequences are clear: since the late 1960s, while the Right has been busy taking the White House, the Left has been marching on the English department. With dazzling range and acuteness, Gitlin's analysis moves through American history and modern thought, from academic squabbles to the crisis in the Democratic party, from embattled school boards to the right-wing exploitation of those scarlet letters, "PC." In the end, he maintains, the culture wars are evasions of America's deepest trauma - inequality - and he eloquently contends that America is lost unless its obsession with cultural differences can be transcended in the name of the common good.

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