Chapter

Power and Politics in American Culture

James Davison Hunter

in To Change the World

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199730803
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199777082 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730803.003.0009
Power and Politics in American Culture

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Power now does the work that culture used to do. This is seen in the tendency toward the politicization of nearly everything. Politicization is most visibly manifested in the role ideology has come to play in public life, the well-established predisposition to interpret all of public life through the filter of partisan beliefs, values, ideals, and attachments. As a consequence, we find it difficult to think in ways to address public problems or issues in any way that is not political. Politicization means that the final arbiter within most of social life is the coercive power of the state. Our times amply demonstrate that it is far easier to force one’s will upon others through legal and political means than it is to persuade them or negotiate compromise with them. What adds pathos to this situation is the presence of ressentiment, defined by a combination of anger, envy, hate, rage, and revenge.

Keywords: power; politics; politicization; public; ideology; Nietzsche; will to power; ressentiment; political culture

Chapter.  4309 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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