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The Search for Political Community

American Activists Reinventing Commitment

The Search for Political Community by Paul Lichterman
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This book challenges the myth that Americans' emphasis on personal fulfilment necessarily weakens commitment to the common good. Drawing on extensive participant-observation with a variety of environmentalist groups, Paul Lichterman argues that individualism sometimes enhances public, political commitment and that a shared respect for individual inspiration enables activists with diverse political backgrounds to work together. This personalised culture of commitment has sustained activists working long-term for social change. The book contrasts 'personalised politics' in mainly white environmental groups with a more traditional, community-centred culture of commitment in an African-American group. The untraditional, personalised politics of many recent social movements invites us to rethink common understandings of commitment, community, and individualism in a post-traditional world.
Cambridge University Press; September 1996
291 pages; ISBN 9780511887796
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Title: The Search for Political Community
Author: Paul Lichterman