Pragmatism and Social Hope

Deepening Democracy in Global Contexts

Judith M. Green

Columbia University Press

Pragmatism and Social Hope

Pub Date: November 2008

ISBN: 9780231144582

304 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£50.00

Pub Date: November 2008

ISBN: 9780231518222

304 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $59.99£50.00

Pragmatism and Social Hope

Deepening Democracy in Global Contexts

Judith M. Green

Columbia University Press

Since 9/11, citizens of all nations have been searching for a democratic public philosophy that provides practical and inspiring answers to the problems of the twenty-first century. Drawing on the wisdom of past and present pragmatist thinkers, Judith M. Green maps a contemporary form of citizenship that emphasizes participation and cooperation and reclaims the critical role of social movements and nongovernmental organizations. Starting with empowering processes of storytelling, truth and reconciliation, and collaborative vision-questing that allow individuals to give voice and new meaning to their loss, anxiety, and hope, Green frames cooperative inquiries to guide transformative actions. From this "second strand" of the democratic experience, leaders and participating citizens can help to shape a more desirable democratic future.

In dialogue with Richard Rorty, Judith Butler, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr., Elie Wiesel, Viktor Frankl, Cornel West, and other contemporary thinkers, Green defines the need for deeper understanding and fulfillment of the potentials of the democratic ideal. Drawing insights from Thomas Jefferson, Walt Whitman, William James, John Dewey, Jane Adams, and other earlier thinkers, Green frames a pragmatist understanding of emerging realities and possibilities, growing wells of shared truths, multifaceted histories, and mutually transformative experiences of citizenship. Employing examples from America's complex history and from recent world events, Green locates four sites for effective citizen activism: government at all levels, nonprofit organizations, issue-focused campaigns and social movements, and daily urban living. Green shows how citizens can revive social hope and deepen the democratic experience by drawing on their own knowledge and developing their capabilities through inclusive civic participation.
Pragmatism and Social Hope is an important contribution. Judith M. Green revives a strand of American pragmatism that was evident in the progressive movements of the first decades of the twentieth century but has, for the most part, been dormant through successive periods of positivism, radicalism, and postmodernism (together with its cousin, neopragmatism). Her book demonstrates how a robust version of pragmatism can affect the lives of human beings and their communities. Larry Hickman, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Dewey Studies, Southern Illinois University
Acknowledgments
Introduction. Pragmatism and Social Hope: Deepening Democracy in Global Contexts
1. Achieving Our Country, Achieving Our World: Rorty, Baldwin, and Social Hope
2. American Dreaming: From Loss and Fear to Vision and Hope
3. Hope's Progress: Remembering Dewey's Pragmatist Social Epistemology in the Twenty-first Century
4. Choosing Our History, Choosing Our Hopes: Truth and Reconciliation Between Our Past and Our Future
5. Trying Deeper Democracy: Pragmatist Lessons from the American Experience
6. The Continuously Planning City: Imperatives and Examples for Deepening Democracy
7. The Hope of Democratic Living: Choosing Active Citizen Participation for Preferable Global Futures
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Judith M. Green is associate professor of philosophy and codirector of women's studies at Fordham University. She specializes in social and political philosophy, pragmatism, Africana philosophy, and feminist theory. She also serves as a consultant on citizen participation in urban planning. Her previous book was Deep Democracy: Community, Diversity, and Transformation.