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What Motivates Cultural Progressives?
Understanding Opposition to the Political and Christian Right
By George Yancey and David A. Williamson
Public activism has grown significantly during the 21st century as a cornerstone of the democratic process. But activism, regardless of its ideological roots, is often interpreted through the lens of the culture wars—pitting social movements with opposing ideals against one another. For too long, as George Yancey and David Williamson argue, progressive activists, one side of these culture wars, have been seldom studied and virtually never critiqued in public conversation.
Yancey and Williamson describe and analyze the multifaceted cultural progressive movement and its place within the larger American society. What they uncover is a collective identity informed by staunch opposition to cultural conservatives—both political and religious—that is motivated by the progressive activist's preference for absolute rationality. Further, Yancey and Williamson argue that, despite great resistance to conservatives purportedly nonrational appeals, progressive activists are found to use irrational techniques when seeking to establish their movement and position their cause as socially legitimate.
In the contemporary heated political climate the often-surprising and likely controversial findings of What Motivates Cultural Progressives? will prove essential, thought-provoking reading for understanding the growing concern over the influence of activism.
1. The Culture War in the United States
2. Dynamics of Social Movements and Cultural Progressives
3. Developing a Typology of Cultural Progressive Activists
4. Political Concerns and Cultural Progressive Activists
5. General Opposition to Religion in Cultural Progressive Activists
6. Cultural Progressive Activists and Critics of Christianity
7. The Framing of Cultural Progressive Activism
8. Cultural Progressives in the Continuing Culture War
“Geroge Yancey and David A. Williamson take the project of studying secularists to a whole new level.”
—Hunter Baker, Associate Professor of Political Science, Union University, Renewing Minds (Issue 3)
"Although there are many about the Christian Right, there has been until now no good book that explores how opposition to that movement among cultural progressives helps to anchor the culture wars. What Motivates Cultural Progressives?should be widely read by political scientists, sociologists, and all who seek to understand cultural politics in the United States."
—Clyde Wilcox, Department of Government, Georgetown University
George Yancey is Professor of Sociology at the University of North Texas and author of Compromising Scholarship: Religious and Political Bias in American Higher Education.
David A. Williamson is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of North Texas.