Made in America A Social History of American Culture and Character

ISBN-10: 0226251446
ISBN-13: 9780226251448
Edition: 2011
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Description: Our nation began with the simple phrase, "We the People." But who were and are "We"? Who were we in 1776, in 1865, or 1968, and is there any continuity in character between the we of those years and the nearly 300 million people living in the  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/10/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 528
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.540
Language: English

Our nation began with the simple phrase, "We the People." But who were and are "We"? Who were we in 1776, in 1865, or 1968, and is there any continuity in character between the we of those years and the nearly 300 million people living in the radically different America of today? With Made in America, Claude S. Fischer draws on decades of historical, psychological, and social research to answer that question by tracking the evolution of American character and culture over three centuries. He explodes mythssuch as that contemporary Americans are more mobile and less religious than their ancestors, or that they are more focused on money and consumptionand reveals instead how greater security and wealth have only reinforced the independence, egalitarianism, and commitment to community that characterized our people from the earliest years. Skillfully drawing on personal stories of representative Americans, Fischer shows that affluence and social progress have allowed more people to participate fully in cultural and political life, thus broadening the category of "American" yet at the same time what it means to be an American has retained surprising continuity with much earlier notions of American character. Firmly in the vein of such classics as The Lonely Crowdand Habits of the Heartyet challenging many of their conclusions Made in Americatakes readers beyond the simplicity of headlines and the actions of elites to show us the lives, aspirations, and emotions of ordinary Americans, from the settling of the colonies to the settling of the suburbs.

Claude Fischer is a French-born American sociologist. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and currently teaches sociology at the University of California, at Berkeley. Most of Fischer's work focuses on urban society. He has written extensively on structural changes in modern society and has researched social networks and the displacement of traditional territorially based communities by new communities of human association. Fischer is also interested in the impact of technology on social relations and social institutions; most recently, he has investigated the social history of the telephone.

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