The book outlines traditional linkages between citizenship and public participation, national identity and social welfare, and shows the relevance of citizenship for a range of rising issues extending from global change through gender to the environment. The areas investigated include: the challenge of internationalization to the nation state and to national identities; the contested nature of citizenship in relation to poverty, work and welfare; the implications of gender inequality; and the potential for new conceptions of citizenship in response to cultural and political change.
New to the fourth edition are an analysis of the impact of Barack Obama on contemporary American political discourse, recent developments in the war on terror, and a section on gay and lesbian protest. A new chapter has been added that discusses the phenomenon of globalization and its challenge to American exceptionalism. As in previous editions, each chapter ends with an insightful author commentary and contains an up-to-date and comprehensive bibliographical essay, along with a list of major works for each period.
The authors engaging style brings the American political experience to life with clarity and vision, immersing readers into the politics surrounding eleven great crises in our nations history. Through the eyes of philosophers, writers, and orators of each period and the voices of commentators both historical and current, political theories are outlined in the context of the debates and conversations of the men and women who have struggled to extricate the nation from crisis.
Miller also explores a neglected aspect of Michel Foucault's concerns about citizenship and subjectivity when examining the power of institutions and bureaucracies in creating and precluding political identities. Of particular interest to scholars and students involved with American political history and theory and the sociology of work/education/war and conflict.
"The election happened," remembers Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, then deputy secretary of the Department of Energy. "And then there was radio silence." Across all departments, similar stories were playing out: Trump appointees were few and far between; those that did show up were shockingly uninformed about the functions of their new workplace. Some even threw away the briefing books that had been prepared for them.
Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders. In Agriculture the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it’s not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.
Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gains without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing those costs. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is upside to ignorance, and downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview.
If there are dangerous fools in this book, there are also heroes, unsung, of course. They are the linchpins of the system—those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running. Michael Lewis finds them, and he asks them what keeps them up at night.