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To Change the WorldThe Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity Today$
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James Davison Hunter

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730803.001.0001

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The Failure of the Common View

The Failure of the Common View

Chapter:
(p.18) Chapter Three The Failure of the Common View
Source:
To Change the World
Author(s):

James Davison Hunter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730803.003.0003

If cultures were simply a matter of hearts and minds, then the influence of various minorities—whoever they are and whatever that may be—would be relatively insignificant. But they are not. The real problem of this working theory of culture and cultural change and the strategies that derive from it is idealism—that something non-physical is the primary reality. Idealism has three features in this view: ideas, individualism, and pietism. However, idealism misconstrues agency; underplays the importance of history; ignores the way culture is generated, coordinated, and organized; and imputes a logic and rationality to culture. Every strategy and tactic for changing the world that is based upon this working theory of culture and cultural change will fail—not most of these strategies, but all.

Keywords:   culture war, idealism, individualism

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