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The Ethos of Pluralization

Series: Borderlines
Volume: 1
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    The Ethos of Pluralization
    Book Description:

    How plural, really, is pluralism today? In this book a prominent political theorist reworks the traditional pluralist imagination, rendering it more inclusive and responsive to new drives to pluralization.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8678-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: The Pluralist Imagination
    (pp. xi-xxx)

    Pluralism, advertised as a diverse, tolerant form of life, is again on the discussion agenda in Europe and America. Its resurgence reflects the contingent confluence of several elements. They include the collapse of communist states, accompanied by the post-Marxist appreciation of energies in civil society exceeding the unity of command economies;¹ the acceleration of population flows accompanying the globalization of economic life, as affluent managers step up the pace of transnational mobility and postcolonials migrate to the centers of former empires; the acceleration of speed in military delivery systems, cultural communications, civilian transportation, disease transmission, ecological change, and political mobilization,...

  5. 1. Nothing Is Fundamental...
    (pp. 1-40)

    Onta, the really existing things;ontology, the study of the fundamental logic of reality apart from appearances. These determinations are both too restrictive and too total for what I have in mind. For example, thelogosinontologyalready suggests a fundamental logic, principle, or design of being. But it can and has been urged that the most fundamental thing about being is that it contains no such overriding logic or design. “Ontopolitical interpretation” may come closer, then.Onto, because every political interpretation invokes a set of fundaments about necessities and possibilities of human being, about, for instance, the forms...

  6. 2. The Desire to Punish
    (pp. 41-74)

    What calls for punishment? In a country where rape, murder, mugging, drug wars, and corruption are rampant, the answer seems too self-evident to warrant the question. Crime calls for punishment: to protect the innocent against the criminal in the future, to deter others inclined to crime, to enforce the standard of responsibility upon which civilized social relations rest, to vindicate the conception of justice through which most people live, and, though less often today, to rehabilitate the offender. Of course, these five sources (protection, deterrence, responsibility, justice, and rehabilitation) do not mesh well together. We disagree within and among ourselves...

  7. 3. Democracy, Equality, Normality
    (pp. 75-104)

    C. B. Macpherson, a Marxist political theorist, was a democrat and a visionary, with each of these terms conditioning the other. His contributions to democratic theory, written mostly between 1966 and 1977, provide an opportunity for self-reflection and critical renewal for those who were his students and colleagues. In reviewing Macpherson’s writings, I also gain the opportunity to reconsider my own thinking during the decade of the New Left. I was fortunate enough to participate in a six-week colloquium in Irvine, California, in 1969 where Brough Macpherson and Arnold Kaufman—the author ofThe Radical Liberal¹—presented seminars on democratic...

  8. 4. Fundamentalism in America
    (pp. 105-134)

    Fundamentalism, as conventionally understood in the country where the term was introduced, is a general imperative to assert an absolute, singular ground of authority; to ground your own identity and allegiances in this unquestionable source; to define political issues in a vocabulary of God, morality, or nature that invokes such a certain, authoritative source; and to condemn tolerance, abortion, pluralism, radicalism, homosexuality, secular humanism, welfarism, and internationalism (among other things) by imputing moral weakness, relativism, selfishness, or corruption to them. A fundamentalist is an American dogmatist who is proud of it. This combination is what renders fundamentalism so tenacious politically,...

  9. 5. Democracy and Territoriality
    (pp. 135-162)

    In late modernity, the nostalgic idealism of territorial democracy fosters the nostalgic realism of international relations. And vice versa. The nostalgia is for a time in the past when the politics of place could be imagined as a coherent possibility for the future.

    Today, nostalgic realism and nostalgic idealism coexist within the compass of the state. While political movements, economic transactions, environmental dangers, security risks, cultural communications, tourist travel, and disease transmission increasingly acquire global dimensions, the state retains a tight grip over public definitions of danger, security, collective identification, and democratic accountability. Even when a fragment within the state...

  10. 6. Tocqueville, Religiosity, and Pluralization
    (pp. 163-198)

    Boundaries abound. Between humanity and the gods. Between human and animal. Between culture and nature. Between life and death. Between genders, nations, peoples, times, races, classes, and territories. But boundaries have also become problematic today, perhaps more so than before. In a world experienced by many to be without a natural design to which they might conform, the function of boundaries becomes highly ambiguous. Boundaries form indispensable protections against violation and violence; but the divisions they sustain also carry cruelty and violence. Boundaries provide preconditions of identity, individual agency, and collective action; but they also close off possibilities of being...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 199-236)
  12. Index
    (pp. 237-243)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 244-244)