Culture of Citizenship, The

Inventing Postmodern Civic Culture

By Thomas Bridges

Series: SUNY series in Social and Political Thought
Paperback : 9780791420348, 267 pages, June 1994
Hardcover : 9780791420331, 267 pages, June 1994

Table of contents


Introduction: Salvaging Liberalism from the Wreck of the Enlightenment

1. Modernist Liberalism and Its Consequences

Civic culture and the modernist rhetoric of pure theory

Consequences of modernist liberalism

2. Rawls and the Shaping of a Postmodern Liberalism

Addressing the consequences of modernist liberalism

The rhetorical turn: from political theory to civic culture

The teleological turn: citizenship as a highest-order interest

3. The De-Totalization of Politics

The rhetorical turn and the intelligibility of liberal democratic citizenship

The de-totalizing character of liberal doctrine as a component of civic culture

The de-totalization of the liberal democratic public sphere

4. The Liberation of Desire

Motivating full cultural citizenship

The counter-narrative force of civic freedom

Civic justice and the liberation of desire

5 God and the Space of Civic Discourse

Inventing postmodern civic culture

God and the civic good

Civic friendship, Christian love and the providential order of history



This book seeks to salvage liberalism, as a form of political association and as a unique culture, from the wreck of the Enlightenment. Following the lead of John Rawls's work since 1980, Bridges seeks to rethink the fundamental concepts and moral ideals of liberalism in ways that support the recovery and affirmation of the particularistic cultural identity of the West.

Thomas Bridges is Professor of Philosophy in the Philosophy and Religion Department at Montclair State University.


"The Culture of Citizenship is provocative, path-breaking scholarship. In it Thomas Bridges presents liberal political philosophy as in retreat from its traditional confidence in the 'modernist anti-rhetorical rhetoric of pure theory. ' Instead, Bridges argues, figures such as John Rawls are inching toward a 'rhetorical turn' toward context, culture, and history, a direction this book seeks to accelerate. To this end, the book explores the often surprising and deeply challenging implications this rhetorical turn holds for the philosophy of politics and culture. " — William M. Sullivan, La Salle University

"The topic pursued here is of the utmost importance. Before we accept the postmodern critique, we want to be sure that the alternative can preserve the elements of our culture that we treasure most highly. The project to construct a postmodern civic culture is, then, extraordinarily important. " — Richard Dees, St. Louis University