Civic War and the Corruption of the Citizen

Civic War and the Corruption of the Citizen

by Peter Alexander Meyers


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In this unique book, Peter Alexander Meyers leads us through the social processes by which shock incites terror, terror invites war, war invokes emergency, and emergency supports unchecked power. He then reveals how the domestic political culture created by the Cold War has driven these developments forward since 9/11, contending that our failure to acknowledge that this Cold War continues today is precisely what makes it so dangerous.
With eloquence and urgency Meyers argues that the mantra of our time—“everything changed on 9/11!”—is false and pernicious. By contrast, Civic War and the Corruption of the Citizen provides a novel account of long-term transformations in the citizen’s experience of war, the constitution of political powers, and public uses of communication, and from that firm historical basis explains how a convergence of these social facts became the pretext for unprecedented opportunism and irresponsibility after 9/11. Where others have observed that our rights are under attack, Meyers digs deeper and finds that today “government by the people” itself is at risk.
Sparkling with historical and philosophical insight, this is a dramatic diagnosis of the American political scene that at once makes clear the new position of the citizen and the necessity for active citizenship if democracy is to endure.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226522081
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 12/01/2008
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Peter Alexander Meyers is professor of American Studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris and is presently a visiting researcher in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Table of Contents

Port of Entry

1 From Shock to Terror
2 From Terror to War
3 The Circle of War and Emergency
4 The Regeneration of Emergency through Violence
5  The Cold War Is Not Over

6 The Distemper of Monocracy
      1 The Cold War Today
      2 Today's Cold War in the System of Civic War
      3 Civic War and the Monocratic Tendency
      4 Two Poles of Power: Monocratic Omnipotence and Jeffersonian Justification
      5 Phases of Communication: Secrets, Lies, and Publicness
      6 The Export of "Moral Clarity"
      7 The Cold War Comes Home: The Revival of Reaganism
      8 The Breeding Ground of Monocracy
      9 The Constitution of Power and the Corruption of the Citizen after September 11th
Works Cited

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