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Learning One's Native TongueCitizenship, Contestation, and Conflict in America$
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Tracy B. Strong

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226623191

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226623368.001.0001

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At Home Alone: The Problems of Citizenship in Our Age

At Home Alone: The Problems of Citizenship in Our Age

Chapter:
(p.287) 11 At Home Alone: The Problems of Citizenship in Our Age
Source:
Learning One's Native Tongue
Author(s):

Tracy B. Strong

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226623368.003.0012

The need to “save democracy” has generated a spate of books recently. I argue that the sources of the perceived problems are twofold: the growing ubiquity of social media and the rise of non-state-based terrorism. The proliferation of access points to social media has tended to further fractionate the population. In turn, this has given rise to the increasingly perceived contingency of any claim to “fact.” I do not immediately perceive any way around this and argue that one can at present only make judgments about validity on the basis of the character or quality of the person advancing them. Additionally, there is the problem of “big data” that contributes to the formation of “echo-chambers.” Finally on a micro level, the consequences for the formation of a sense of the public further enhances fractionation. Terrorism has become the substitute for the USSR. The administrative attempt to meet this new, unmeetable threat has generated a society in which the private plays an increasing doming role in the life of ordinary individuals. Contemporary terrorism this has as its consequences the destruction of public space and the privatization of more and more aspects of human life.

Keywords:   fear of death, John Winthrop, Robert Frost, Jane Mansbridge, social media, facts and values, positivism, private versus public space, Twin Towers and 9/11, Thomas Hobbes

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