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By Daniel T. Rodgers

ISBN-10: 0674057449

ISBN-13: 9780674057449

Within the final zone of the 20th century, the information that the majority americans lived through began to fragment. Mid-century techniques of nationwide consensus, controlled markets, gender and racial identities, citizen legal responsibility, and historic reminiscence turned extra fluid. versatile markets brushed aside Keynesian macroeconomic constructions. Racial and gender unity divided into a number of identities; neighborhood accountability shrank to smaller circles. during this wide-ranging narrative, Daniel Rodgers indicates how the collective reasons and meanings that had framed social debate turned unhinged and unsure. Age of Fracture deals a strong reinterpretation of the ways that the a long time surrounding the Eighties replaced the US. via a contagion of visions and metaphors, on either the highbrow correct and the highbrow left, prior notions of background and society that under pressure solidity, collective associations, and social situations gave method to a extra individualized human nature that emphasised selection, business enterprise, functionality, and wish. On a huge canvas that incorporates Michel Foucault, Ronald Reagan, Judith Butler, Charles Murray, Jeffrey Sachs, and plenty of extra, Rodgers explains how constructions of strength got here to appear less significant than marketplace selection and fluid selves. slicing around the social and political arenas of late-twentieth-century existence and concept, from financial conception and the tradition wars to disputes over poverty, color-blindness, and sisterhood, Rodgers unearths how our different types of social fact were fractured and destabilized. As we survey the highbrow wreckage of this battle of principles, we greater comprehend the emergence of our current age of uncertainty. (20101201)

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Toward the end of his First Inaugural address, Reagan turned from the guiding principles of his foreign policy, through a short paragraph telegraphing his support for school prayer, suddenly to the view of the city from the West Front of the Capitol. The metamorphosis from president to tour guide proceeded without a hiccup: “Directly in front of me, the monument to a monumental man, George Washington. . ” Beyond, the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. Primed with advance copies, CBS cameramen obediently swung to the narration.

The words and assumptions of Cold War politics were ones he had lived with for a long time, a way of framing history and politics that came as naturally to him as the ease with which he felt the timing of a speech, or the way his speechwriters sprinkled his trademark word of hesitation, “well,” throughout his addresses. Reagan needed no tutoring in the rhetoric of the Cold War presidency. His basic speech of the early 1960s had fit hand in glove into its prevailing rhetorical structures. It broke the continuity of American history apart at the advent of international Communism.

The words that came from it bound the people and their president together and made sacred the responsibilities of both. On particular occasions, Reagan’s speechwriters gave him a statement of faith to confess. But just as the terms of crisis and resolve receded from Reagan’s vocabulary, so he slipped out of the preacher’s role and pulpit. He did not speak in church syntax with the modifying clauses piled up at the front of his sentences, the hortatory verbs (“let us,” “grant us”), and the Biblical references.

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Age of Fracture by Daniel T. Rodgers


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