We: Reviving Social Hope by Ronald AronsonWe: Reviving Social Hope by Ronald Aronson

We: Reviving Social Hope

byRonald Aronson

Hardcover | April 26, 2017

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The election of Donald Trump has exposed American society’s profound crisis of hope. By 2016 a generation of shrinking employment, rising inequality, the attack on public education, and the shredding of the social safety net, had set the stage for stunning insurgencies at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Against this dire background, Ronald Aronson offers an answer. He argues for a unique conception of social hope, one with the power for understanding and acting upon the present situation. Hope, he argues, is far more than a mood or feeling—it is the very basis of social will and political action. It is this kind of hope that Aronson sees brewing in the supporters of Bernie Sanders, who advocated the tough-minded and inspired disposition to act collectively to make the world more equal, more democratic, more peaceful, and more just.  And it was directly contrasted by Trump’s supporters who showed a cynical and nostalgic faith in an authoritarian strongman replete with bigotry and misogyny. 
         
Beneath today’s crisis Aronson examines our heartbreaking story: a century of catastrophic violence and the bewildering ambiguity of progress—all of which have contributed to the evaporation of social hope. As he shows, we are now in a time when hope is increasingly privatized, when—despite all the ways we are connected to each other—we are desperately alone, struggling to weather the maelstrom around us, demoralized by the cynicism that permeates our culture and politics, and burdened with finding personal solutions to social problems.
 
Yet, Aronson argues, even at a time when false hopes are rife, social hope still persists. Carefully exploring what we mean when we say we “hope” and teasing hope apart from its dangerously misconstrued sibling, “progress,” he locates seeds of real change. He argues that always underlying our experience—even if we completely ignore it—is the fact of our social belonging, and that this can be reactivated into a powerful collective force, an active we. He looks to various political movements, from the massive collective force of environmentalists to the movements around Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, as powerful examples of socially energized, politically determined, and actionably engaged forms of hope. Even in this age of Donald Trump, the result is an illuminating and inspiring call that anyone can clearly hear: we can still create a better future for everyone, but only if we resist false hopes and act together.
 
 
Ronald Aronson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Wayne State University. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including, most recently, We Have Only This Life to Live: Essays of Jean-Paul Sartre and Living without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, and the Undecided.  
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Title:We: Reviving Social HopeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:April 26, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022633466X

ISBN - 13:9780226334660

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
A Note on We
 
1. Hope in Trouble
2. What Hope Is
3. Progress versus Hope
4. Cynicism
5. The Privatization of Hope
6. We
 
Postscript
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

We is a tonic. At a time in our history when many are despairing about the turn in our nation’s political life, Aronson has produced a sober yet exhilarating cri de Coeur about why we need not be. Anyone concerned about how ‘we’ might mount resistance to the forces of reaction should read We and take heart.”