Reflections on America
Tocqueville, Weber and Adorno in the United States
By (author) Claus Offe
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Reflections on America by Claus Offe
Book DescriptionAt a time when so many cracks have emerged within the imagined community of 'the West', this important new book, by one of the leading social scientists in Europe, examines the intellectual history of comparing Europe and the United States. Claus Offe considers the perspectives adopted by three of Europe's greatest social scientists - Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber and Theodor W. Adorno - in their comparative writings on Europe. While travelling, studying and working in the US, all three constantly looked back to their European origins, trying to decipher from their American experience what the future may hold for Europe, be it for better or worse. Alexis de Tocqueville, the French aristocrat, observed the functioning of American democracy with a mix of admiration, envy and deep concerns about the fate of liberty in the 'democratic age'. Max Weber, the German sociologist, reported enthusiastically about the youthful energy he found in the United States, which, however, he saw as gradually succumbing to the stifling tendencies of European bureaucratization. Theodor W. Adorno, the critical theorist and refugee from Nazi Germany, observed with a sense of despair the workings of the American 'culture industry' which he equated to the totalitarian experience of Europe, only to switch to a much more favourable picture upon his return to Germany. Europe and the US are conventionally assumed to share the same trajectory and develop according to some common pattern of 'occidental rationalism', with the observed differences resulting from mere lags and relative advances on one side or the other. In this insightful book, Offe questions the relevance of this paradigm to transatlantic relations today.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780745635064
(215mm x 137mm x 10mm)
Imprint: Polity Press
Publisher: Polity Press
Publish Date: 5-Dec-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Claus Offe
Europe Entrapped, Paperback (November 2014)
Today Europe finds itself in a crisis that casts a dark shadow over an entire generation. The seriousness of the crisis stems from one core political contradiction at the heart of the European project: namely, that what urgently needs to be done is also extremely unpopular and therefore virtually impossible to do democratically.
Reflections on America, Hardback (December 2005)
* A highly topical book which examines the intellectual history of comparing Europe and the United States. * Claus Offe considers the perspectives adopted by three of Europe's greatest social scientists - Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber and Theodor W. Adorno - in their comparative writings on Europe and the US.
Institutional Design in Post-Communist Societies, Paperback (March 1998)View all books by Claus Offe
This book examines the problems and issues facing formerly communist states as they seek to develop a new democratic political order and a market economy.
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Author Biography - Claus Offe
Claus Offe, Humboldt University, Berlin Translated by P. Camiller
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