Blessed Are the Organized: Grassroots Democracy in America

Princeton University Press
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In an America where the rich and fortunate have free rein to do as they please, can the ideal of liberty and justice for all be anything but an empty slogan? Many Americans are doubtful, and have withdrawn into apathy and cynicism. But thousands of others are not ready to give up on democracy just yet. Working outside the notice of the national media, ordinary citizens across the nation are meeting in living rooms, church basements, synagogues, and schools to identify shared concerns, select and cultivate leaders, and take action. Their goal is to hold big government and big business accountable. In this important new book, Jeffrey Stout bears witness to the successes and failures of progressive grassroots organizing, and the daunting forces now arrayed against it.

Stout tells vivid stories of people fighting entrenched economic and political interests around the country. From parents and teachers striving to overcome gang violence in South Central Los Angeles, to a Latino priest north of the Rio Grande who brings his parish into a citizens' organization, to the New Orleans residents who get out the vote by taking a jazz band through streets devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Stout describes how these ordinary people conceive of citizenship, how they acquire and exercise power, and how religious ideas and institutions contribute to their successes.


The most important book on organizing and grassroots democracy in a generation, Blessed Are the Organized is a passionate and hopeful account of how our endangered democratic principles can be put into action.

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About the author

Jeffrey Stout is professor of religion at Princeton University. His books include Ethics After Babel and Democracy and Tradition (both Princeton). He is past president of the American Academy of Religion and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 11, 2010
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781400836079
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Organizational Behavior
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Political Process / Political Advocacy
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Drawing inspiration from Whitman, Dewey, and Ellison, Jeffrey Stout sketches the proper role of religious discourse in a democracy. He discusses the fate of virtue, the legacy of racism, the moral issues implicated in the war on terrorism, and the objectivity of ethical norms. Against those who see no place for religious reasoning in the democratic arena, Stout champions a space for religious voices. But against increasingly vocal antiliberal thinkers, he argues that modern democracy can provide a moral vision and has made possible such moral achievements as civil rights precisely because it allows a multitude of claims to be heard.


Stout's distinctive pragmatism reconfigures the disputed area where religious thought, political theory, and philosophy meet. Charting a path beyond the current impasse between secular liberalism and the new traditionalism, Democracy and Tradition asks whether we have the moral strength to continue as a democratic people as it invigorates us to retrieve our democratic virtues from very real threats to their practice.

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