The Politics of the American Dream Democratic Inclusion in Contemporary American Political Culture

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-01-08
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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The Politics of the American Dream analyzes the role of the 'American Dream' in contemporary American political culture. Author Cyril Ghosh identifies the constitutive elements of the Dream: individualism, equal opportunity, and some notion of pursuit of happiness/success, and offers an intellectual history of the concept and trace its lineage back through the Horatio Alger ethic, the Founding era, New England Puritan thought, all the way back to Lockean liberalism itself. Each of these ideological 'moments,' Ghosh argues, has asserted some relationship between work, virtue, and happiness. This fundamental relationship has remained stable over time although the specific meanings of these terms and their ideological import have varied. Ghosh offers a theory explaining the high incidence of American Dream talk in American political rhetoric since the mid-1960s. The author argues that Dream rhetoric offers a promise of democratic inclusion under conditions of extreme multiculturalism that is unique among liberal democracies because it eschews the predominant models of differentiated or de-differentiated inclusion. The Politics of the American Dream is the only work to use analytic political theory to systematically study the concept of the American Dream and its role in contemporary American politics.

Author Biography


Table of Contents

What is the American Dream?The Rhetoric of Democratic InclusionThe American Dream as 'Lockean Sympathy'Constitutive Elements of the DreamThe Politics of Multiple MeaningsThe American Dream in the 21st Century

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