The Failure of the Common View

James Davison Hunter

in To Change the World

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199730803
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199777082 | DOI:
The Failure of the Common View

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If cultures were simply a matter of hearts and minds, then the influence of various minorities—whoever they are and whatever that may be—would be relatively insignificant. But they are not. The real problem of this working theory of culture and cultural change and the strategies that derive from it is idealism—that something non-physical is the primary reality. Idealism has three features in this view: ideas, individualism, and pietism. However, idealism misconstrues agency; underplays the importance of history; ignores the way culture is generated, coordinated, and organized; and imputes a logic and rationality to culture. Every strategy and tactic for changing the world that is based upon this working theory of culture and cultural change will fail—not most of these strategies, but all.

Keywords: culture war; idealism; individualism

Chapter.  6063 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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