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Inventing the Ties That Bind: Imagined Relationships in Moral and Political Life
by Francesca Polletta
University of Chicago Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-0-226-73434-7 | Paper: 978-0-226-73420-0 | Cloth: 978-0-226-73417-0
Library of Congress Classification HM717.P655 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 302.14

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
At a time of deep political divisions, leaders have called on ordinary Americans to talk to one another: to share their stories, listen empathetically, and focus on what they have in common, not what makes them different. In Inventing the Ties that Bind, Francesca Polletta questions this popular solution for healing our rifts. Talking the way that friends do is not the same as equality, she points out. And initiatives that bring strangers together for friendly dialogue may provide fleeting experiences of intimacy, but do not supply the enduring ties that solidarity requires. But Polletta also studies how Americans cooperate outside such initiatives, in social movements, churches, unions, government, and in their everyday lives. She shows that they often act on behalf of people they see as neighbors, not friends, as allies, not intimates, and people with whom they have an imagined relationship, not a real one. To repair our fractured civic landscape, she argues, we should draw on the rich language of solidarity that Americans already have.
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