Book Details

Google preview button
    • November 2010
    • 9780231149846
  • 528 Pages
  • Hardcover
  • $40.00
  • / £27.50


    • November 2010
    • 9780231526296
  • 528 Pages
  • E-book
  • $39.99
  • / £27.50

Economy, Difference, Empire

Social Ethics for Social Justice

Gary Dorrien

Sourcing the major traditions of progressive Christian social ethics—social gospel liberalism, Niebuhrian realism, and liberation theology—Gary Dorrien argues for the social-ethical necessity of social justice politics. In carefully reasoned essays, he focuses on three subjects: the ethics and politics of economic justice, racial and gender justice, and antimilitarism, making a constructive case for economic democracy, along with a liberationist understanding of racial and gender justice and an anti-imperial form of liberal internationalism.

In Dorrien's view, the three major discourse traditions of progressive Christian social ethics share a fundamental commitment to transform the structures of society in the direction of social justice. His reflections on these topics feature innovative analyses of major figures, such as Walter Rauschenbusch, Reinhold Niebuhr, James Burnham, Norman Thomas, and Michael Harrington, and an extensive engagement with contemporary intellectuals, such as Rosemary R. Ruether, Katie Cannon, Gregory Baum, and Cornel West. Dorrien also weaves his personal experiences into his narrative, especially his involvement in social justice movements. He includes a special chapter on the 2008 presidential campaign and the historic candidacy of Barack Obama.

About the Author

Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and professor of religion at Columbia University. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including most recently the three-volume The Making of Liberal Theology and Social Ethics in the Making: Interpreting an American Tradition.

Through a collection of 19 essays, the gifted social ethicist not only explores the origins and heights of the social justice movement in American liberal Christianity but studies its challengers and traces its decline

Like his previous works, Economy, Difference, Empire not only displays Dorrien's passion for remembering the past but also his ability to discern what aspects of the past are still valuable. He writes vividly and clearly about history, ethics, and theology, and he understands that the voices of religious and political progressivism, whose stories he loves to tell, should not be consigned to the dusty shelves of a library.

IntroductionAcknowledgmentsPart I: The Social Gospel and Niebuhrian Realism 1. Society as the Subject of Redemption: Washington Gladden, Walter Rauschenbusch, and the Social Gospel2. Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth, and the Crises of War and Capitalism3. The Niebuhrian Legacy: Christian Realism as Theology, Ethics, and Public Intellectualism4. Ironic Complexity: Reinhold Niebuhr, Billy Graham, Modernity, and Racial JusticePart II: Economic Democracy in Question 5. Norman Thomas and the Dilemma of American Socialism6. Michael Harrington and the "Left Wing of the Possible"7. Christian Socialism as Tradition and Problem8. Breaking the Oligarchy: Globalization, Turbo-Capitalism, Economic Crash, Economic Democracy9. Rethinking and Renewing Economic DemocracyPart III: Neoconservatism and American Empire 10. The Neoconservative Phenomenon: American Power and the War of Ideology11. Imperial Designs: Neoconservatism and the Iraq War12. Militaristic Illusions: The Iraq Debacle and the Crisis of American Empire13. Empire in Denial: American Exceptionalism and the Community of NationsPart IV: Social Ethics and the Politics of Difference 14. The Feminist Difference: Rosemary R. Ruether and Eco-Socialist Christianity15. Pragmatic Postmodern Prophecy: Cornel West as Social Critic and Public Intellectual16. As Purple to Lavender: Katie Cannon and Womanist Ethics17. Religious Pluralism as a Justice Issue: Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Ecumenism18. The Obama Phenomenon and Presidency19. Social Ethics in the Making: History, Method, and White SupremacismNotesIndex