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Habits of the Heart

Robert Neelly Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, Steven M. Tipton (University of California Press: May 1, 1996, orig. 1985), 410 pages.

Habits of the Heart is required reading for anyone who wants to understand how religion contributes to and detracts from America’s common good. Describes the social significance of faiths ranging from "Sheilaism" (practiced by a California nurse named Sheila) to conservative Christianity. It’s thoroughly readable, theologically respectful, and academically irreproachable. ~ Michael Joseph Gross • First published in 1985, Habits of the Heart continues to be one of the most discussed interpretations of modern American society, a quest for a democratic community that draws on our diverse civic and religious traditions. In a new preface the authors relate the arguments of the book both to the current realities of American society and to the growing debate about the country’s future. With this new edition one of the most influential books of recent times takes on a new immediacy.

Table of Contents

    • Introduction to the Updated Edition
    • Preface
    • 1    The Pursuit of Happiness    3
    • 2    Culture and Character: The Historical Conversation    27
    • 3    Finding Oneself    55
    • 4    Love and Marriage    85
    • 5    Reaching Out    113
    • 6    Individualism    142
    • 7    Getting Involved    167
    • 8    Citizenship    196
    • 9    Religion    219
    • 10    The National Society    250
    • 11    Transforming American Culture    275
    • Appendix: Social Science as Public Philosophy    297
    • Notes    309
    • Glossary    333
    • Index    337