American Democratic Culture
Drawing from classic texts and from contemporary works, this course examines the challenges to, and possibilities for, leadership in American culture. This course is, therefore, a historical and sociological examination of the sort of political culture that has emerged in the United States. Of particular concern is the development of a civic discourse and the ways in which policy matters are discussed and decided. The subject is not about simple procedural matters, but about the language, media of discourse, and values that shape the American political culture. Among other subjects, this course will examine the role of public opinion in democratic decision making; the (changing) role of intermediary institutions (such as church, family, and local community) in American culture; and the impact of a consumer culture on American institutions and politics.