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The Future Of Democratic Equality: Rebuilding Social Solidarity in a Fragmented America Paperback – September 11, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0415944656 ISBN-10: 0415944651 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (September 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415944651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415944656
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,370,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


 2011 David Easton Award, presented for the best book by the Foundations of Political Theory section of APSA:

"The Future of Democratic Equality, by Joseph Schwartz, takes on three tasks, and accomplishes all brilliantly. Any one of these tasks well fulfilled would have been a laudable achievement. First, Schwartz argues for the centrality of the question of equality to democratic politics. Second, he critically analyzes and explains the shocking rise in inequality in the United States over the last three decades. This he does with conceptual clarity, rich interdisciplinary analysis, and a thorough examination of hard socioeconomic data. Third, he assails the near absence of concern for this soaring inequality among contemporary political theorists, and offers a cogent, and stinging, explanation that takes to task the discipline’s preoccupation with difference and identity severed from the pragmatics of democratic equality. The Future of Democratic Equality is a courageous and disciplined effort to tackle a hugely important political problem and intellectual puzzle. It well embodies the spirit of the Easton Book Award by providing well-grounded normative theory targeted to an urgent matter of contemporary concern. It is a must read for anyone who cares about democracy." - Respectfully submitted by Leslie Paul Thiele, University of Florida (chair) and Cary J. Nederman, Texas A&M University

"Joseph Schwartz is one of the leading progressive political theorists in the country. His recent book is a superb historical narrative and political analysis of both the undemocratic turn in American society and the anti-political turn in American academia. His radical democratic project avoids the pitfalls of a narrow politics of identity and an arrogant politics of old-style left solidarity—and it is powerful and propitious!"
--Cornel West, Princeton University

"In this excellent book, Joseph Schwartz provides what has been missing in recent political theory: a strong theoretical account of the causes of contemporary inequality and of the politics of citizenship and solidarity necessary to overcome it." 
--Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study

"Joseph Schwartz offers a brilliant critique of the failures of contemporary political theory to address the urgent quandaries of our time. In the process, he points in a direction that would once again place the problems of inequality and class at the center of theoretical inquiry. A welcome intervention indeed!"
-- Frances Fox Piven, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology, Graduate Center of the City University of New York

"The Future of Democratic Equality is an important book, and Schwartz succeeds in laying out a comprehensive and invigorating approach for challenging race-to-the-bottom forms of globalization. His book is both sharply argued and politically relevant, and attention to it is sure to benefit both the field of political science and the field of democratic politics itself."
Erin E. O’Brien, University of Massachusetts Boston; reviewed in Perspectives on Politics

About the Author

Joseph M. Schwartz is professor of political science at Temple University. He is the author of The Permanence of the Political, winner of the North American Society for Social Philosophy’s best book award.

More About the Author

Joseph M. Schwartz is Professor of Political Science at Temple University. Schwartz's teaching and published work focuses on the complex interaction among morality, ideology, and political and institutional development.

His second book, The Future of Democratic Equality: Reconstructing Social Solidarity in a Fragmented United States (Routledge 2009) recently won the American Political Science Association's 2011 David Easton Award for the best book in political theory. In The Future of Democratic Equality, Schwartz cautions against a potential new form of radical orthodoxy: that universal forms of identity are repressive and homogenizing, whereas particular identities are inherently emancipatory. The work argues that defenders of a democratic conception of "difference" must not forget that "difference," if constructed upon a terrain of radical social inequality, yields unjust inequalities in social and political power. The book also examines the causes of the Great Recession and offers a tentative political program and political strategy for redressing excessive corporate power and rampant inequality.

His first book, The Permanence of the Political: A Democratic Critique of the Radical Thrust to Transcend Politics (Princeton, 1995) critiques the radical longing for a society that transcends particular identity and the need for politics. The book won the North American Society for Social Philosophy Prize for the best book published in 1995.

Schwartz has also published numerous scholarly articles on topics ranging from just war theory and the war on terrorism to the challenges neo-liberal globalization poses for egalitarian politics and policy. He is a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowship and an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) fellowship. Long active on the American left, Schwartz serves as a National Vice-Chair of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Schwartz received his PhD in Political Science from Harvard University and received his second B.A. at Oxford University (in Politics, Philosophy and Economics) as a recipient of a Marshall Scholarship. As an undergraduate, he was a Telluride Scholar at Cornell University.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Oma on June 18, 2009
Format: Paperback

There's a particularly affecting scene in Milk, the recently released biopic about 1970s San Francisco queer liberation activist Harvey Milk, in which Sean Penn stands in front of a roomful of very heterosexual looking Teamsters and begins his address with the self-effacing yet audacious line "I'm Harvey Milk, and I'm here to recruit you."

Milk began many speeches with this line, and while on one level it was just an ironic joke meant to poke fun at the notion that gay men are constantly trying to get straights to play for the other team, on another level he was being deadly serious. Harvey Milk was most definitely trying to recruit those Teamsters into something: a broad-based coalition for progressive social change that reached across multiple fault lines of difference and identity in order to build a better life for everybody, not just the queers in the Castro district of San Francisco. This politics of solidarity that Milk embodied during his tragically brief public career (he was assassinated in 1978) brought real benefits to real people. Milk's cooperation with the local Teamsters union in a 1974 boycott of the Coors brewing company not only resulted in a working-class victory against a virulently anti-union employer, but also opened up the Teamsters local to openly gay drivers. And when the Christian Right in California tried to pass a homophobic ballot initiative in 1978 that would have banned queers from working in the state's public schools, the state's labor movement was instrumental in helping to defeat it.

But times have changed.
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