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The Parent as CitizenA Democratic Dilemma$
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Brian Duff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816672721

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816672721.001.0001

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Deadbeat Citizens: Cornel West and the Parent as Prophet

Deadbeat Citizens: Cornel West and the Parent as Prophet

(p.155) Chapter 4 Deadbeat Citizens: Cornel West and the Parent as Prophet
The Parent as Citizen

Brian Duff

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter uncovers the reasons why parenthood has come to play a crucial role in West’s account of a citizenship, in which deeply felt notions of the right way to live are balanced with a sense of fallibility and an openness to criticism. West articulates a productive tension between aspects of the virtue and contest accounts of citizenship and uses it to scrutinize several traditions in American democratic theory and practice, including pragmatism, the African American religious tradition, and socialism. In each case, West uses his dual commitment to virtue and contest to uncover useful utopian impulses and sources of hope for a more just and decent society while exposing the tendencies of such visions to indulge in fundamentalism and flirt with authoritarian arrangements in the service of their goals.

Keywords:   Cornel West, parenthood, citizenship, virtue, contest, democratic theory, pragmatism, African American religious tradition, socialism

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