The Battle Over a U.S. Culture War: A Note on Inflated Rhetoric Versus Inflamed Politics
The concept of a "culture war" has occasioned almost as much conflict among scholars as it depicts within societies. Although it should be more of a variable than an absolute, this paper argues that the phrase over-reaches as a description of the U.S. during and since the 2004 Presidential election. Not only does the U.S. fail to fulfill a criterion of "widespread polarization," but it also falls mercifully short of the kind of "concerted violence" and the pursuit of "illegitimate government control" that the notion of a war requires. The paper ends on a comparative note with brief accounts of research visits to four societies where culture wars have been fully realized as a lamentable fact of daily life: Northern Ireland, Guatemala, Israel, and India. These sketches -- like the argument itself -- are drawn from the author's recent book, Crossing the Gods (2001).
N. J. Demerath III. "The Battle Over a U.S. Culture War: A Note on Inflated Rhetoric Versus Inflamed Politics" The Forum 3.2 (2010).
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