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Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  87 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
"Don't talk to strangers" is the advice long given to children by parents of all classes and races. Today it has blossomed into a fundamental precept of civic education, reflecting interracial distrust, personal and political alienation, and a profound suspicion of others. In this powerful and eloquent essay, Danielle Allen, a 2002 MacArthur Fellow, takes this maxim back t ...more
Paperback, 286 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by University Of Chicago Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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Ruth
Mar 26, 2007 Ruth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Citizens
Shelves:
I've read FOUR chapters and I'm excited.

The book reads like a series of well-integrated lectures, and that's a compliment. My ears perked when I realized she was redefining (as in, again defining) citizenship as a relationship between citizens, as well as one between an individual and the state.

NEW Questions I'm asking my margins:

How can we revive "good citizenship" in its most robust meaning?


OTHER questions:

Does tolerance as an "ethical norm" exacerbate social, especially interracial, distrust
...more
Ft. Sheridan
Jul 04, 2009 Ft. Sheridan rated it really liked it
Trust, democracy, ethics...right up m'alley. Also, I had a dream about D-Allen once (no MLK joke).
Katharine
Jun 20, 2015 Katharine rated it it was amazing
I am so thankful to have stumbled upon Danielle Allen - her writing is interdisciplinary, relevant, and accessible. In this book, Allen argues that the language we have been using in our conversations about race is wholly ineffective. Since our nation's founding, our culture has held the idea of a united nation ("one nation") as the ultimate goal. Allen reimagines what our society might be like if we, instead, strived to be a "whole nation."

Allen argues that we need a diverse politics, one that
...more
Lee
Jul 11, 2013 Lee rated it it was amazing
The first point of interest about this book is its genre. It begins as something of a historical narrative, going over in depth the story of the Little Rock Nine, and discussing the repercussions of that event (including, Allen claims, the reconstituting of the United States). As the book moves on, it becomes more and more of a treatise on political philosophy. Which was great. I love political philosophy.

There are two main works, I would say, which we’ll say influenced heavily her writing. The
...more
Lizzie
I read this back in 2005 or 2006 for the first time and it left a deep impression. Returning to it eight years later I was captivated all over again.

Allen draws from the integration of Central High in Little Rock, Ralph Ellison (especially the enigmatic Invisible Man), Aristotle, and Thomas Hobbes among others to construct her argument. In sum, Allen argues that the everyday practices of individual citizens are the bedrock of a functioning democracy and lays out the practices that constitute pol
...more
Brad East
Apr 16, 2016 Brad East rated it it was amazing
Lovely prose, impressive command of a wide range of topics and texts, and a compelling recommendation for political friendship as a normative ideal in democratic society. Difficult to evaluate, and at times bordering on the utopian, but an excellent read regardless.
Irami
Jan 25, 2008 Irami added it
Allen takes the Little Rock, Arkansas debacle of 1957 as a point of departure to show that no matter what laws are passed by congress or decided by the Supreme Court, unless you change the customary habits of citizenship of the people involved, one can only ever win a hollow victory for civil rights. The problem is that changing the customary habits of the citizenry is harder than passing a law. Changing the habits of citizenship requires that everyone become an enlightened citizen, willing to t ...more
Kabrina Shamburger
May 09, 2014 Kabrina Shamburger rated it really liked it
Very interesting analysis of a post-civil rights movement America.
Lisa Findley
Jul 01, 2009 Lisa Findley rated it really liked it
I read this at my friend Mike's urging, and I'm glad I did, but more because it helped round out the ideas he and I have been discussing for the past few months and less for the writing itself. Building a trust-based democracy of full citizens instead of the fearful country we currently have is important work, and I liked Allen's ideas on how we got here and how we get there.
Maria
Mar 21, 2007 Maria marked it as to-read
When I discovered this book at Ruth's house, I read the first ten pages and am now hooked. I shall read. Oh, and one would do well to take Ruth's book recommendations, except about Crime and Punishment!!
Megan
I did start this at one point, but was derailed somewhere around chapter 5 or 6. Armed with a new copy, I think it's time to pick it back up.
Kaia
Dec 19, 2011 Kaia rated it really liked it
I read this for my publics theories class. It was the most interesting read: a blend of rhetoric, politics, and critical race theory.
Joseph T
Nov 12, 2012 Joseph T rated it really liked it
The book was an incredible commentary on citizenship and provides a wonderful expansion of collective ritual ideas.
m. soria
Feb 20, 2010 m. soria rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
what's up civic knowledge project!!!
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Trained both as a classicist and a political theorist, Dr. Allen is a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where she lives with her husband and two children. Her particular interests are democratic theory, political sociology, the linguistic dimensions of politics and the history of political thought.

Dr. Allen received her undergraduate educatio
...more
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