The Eclipse of a Black Public and the Challenge of a Post-Soul Politics

in In a Shade of Blue

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780226298245
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226298269 | DOI:
The Eclipse of a Black Public and the Challenge of a Post-Soul Politics

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By some measures, African Americans have finally found their place within mainstream American society. But the tremendous progress evident in black America stands alongside the bleak reality that many African Americans have fallen beyond the pale. We have witnessed over the last few decades an expansion of the black “underclass.” This chapter argues that the post-soul generation has lost its way politically, in part because the African Americans' political imaginations have been captured by the symbolic significance of the black freedom struggle of the 1960s and 1970s. In making this claim, the chapter relies on John Dewey's account of publics in his book The Public and Its Problems, focusing on his account of the emergence of the “great society.” It claims that the trope of the black freedom movement functions in at least three ways: as an indication of black piety, as a characterization of the continuity between current and past racial realities, and as a means to justify and authenticate the authority of a black political class.

Keywords: African Americans; black public; post-soul politics; John Dewey; political class; great society; freedom struggle; black piety; Public and Problems

Chapter.  10605 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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