Politics and passion : toward a more egalitarian liberalism / Michael Walzer.

by Walzer, MichaelLooking glass.

Publisher: New Haven : Yale University, [2004]Description: xiv, 184 pages ; 22 cm.ISBN: 9780300115369; 0300115369.Subject(s): EqualityLooking glass | LiberalismLooking glass
Involuntary association -- The collectivism of powerlessness -- Cultural rights -- Civil society and the state -- Deliberation--and what else? -- Politics and passion.
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages [167]-178) and index.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A preeminent political theorist argues--against prevailing liberal theory--for the role of passion in political life

Liberalism is egalitarian in principle, but why doesn't it do more to promote equality in practice? In this book, the distinguished political philosopher Michael Walzer offers a critique of liberal theory and demonstrates that crucial realities have been submerged in the evolution of contemporary liberal thought.

In the standard versions of liberal theory, autonomous individuals deliberate about what ought to be done--but in the real world, citizens also organize, mobilize, bargain, and lobby. The real world is more contentious than deliberative. Ranging over hotly contested issues including multiculturalism, pluralism, difference, civil society, and racial and gender justice, Walzer suggests ways in which liberal theory might be revised to make it more hospitable to the claims of equality.

Combining profound learning with practical wisdom, Michael Walzer offers a provocative reappraisal of the core tenets of liberal thought. Politics and Passion willbe required reading for anyone interested in social justice--and the means by which we seek to achieve it.

Includes bibliographical references (pages [167]-178) and index.

Involuntary association -- The collectivism of powerlessness -- Cultural rights -- Civil society and the state -- Deliberation--and what else? -- Politics and passion.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Walzer (Princeton Univ.) weaves into a coherent whole several conference papers and lectures, most notably the 1999 Max Horkheimer Lectures. In six short, tightly argued essays, Walzer considers how egalitarian liberals should approach political contexts where illiberal attachments, conditions, or strategies make the standard liberal focus on individual emancipation insufficient. Modern individuals often find themselves members of involuntary associations, feel loyalty to stigmatized and powerless groups, recognize the educational claims of fundamentalist religions, urge nonneutral state action within civil society, pursue nondeliberative politics, or feel justly motivated by passion. How can they maintain these positions and retain individual autonomy and equality as values? Walzer resists the usual liberal moves of rejecting out of hand the need for group empowerment or ignoring the reality of communal embeddedness. He follows the middle way first negotiated in his seminal article "The Communitarian Critique of Liberalism" (reprinted at the end of the volume.) In cases of stigmatized groups, for example, he argues for limited group empowerment supported by state subsidy but rejects "recognition" claims spurred by identity politics as self-defeating. He proposes a compromise multiculturalism whereby Yeats's center can hold both in the world of ideas and the world of political action. ^BSumming Up: Highly Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above. J. Simeone Illinois Wesleyan University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Michael Walzer is UPS Foundation Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of more than a dozen books.