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Conserving the American Dream: Faith and Politics in the U.S. Heartland
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Recent decades have seen substantial changes in the U.S. political landscape. One particularly significant development has been the growing influence of a conservative coalition encompassing evangelical Christianity, interventionist foreign policy and neoliberal reform. This study explores the force and internal dynamics of this political assemblage. Based on fieldwork among conservative voters, volunteers and candidates in a small city in northwestern Ohio during a midterm election year, it probes the energy of conservative politics, its modes of attachment and influence, and the organizational forms through which it circulates. Contemporary conservative politics are shown to be centered on a particular epistemological intuition: that to be able to act, one must believe in something. This intuition implies an actively affirmative stance toward “beliefs” and “values.” The study also addresses methodological and analytical challenges that conservative politics pose for anthropological inquiry. It develops a “conversational” analytical attitude, arguing that in order to understand the lasting influence conservatism one has to take seriously the problems that it is oriented toward.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2012. , 191 p.
Stockholm studies in social anthropology, ISSN 0347-0830 ; N.S., 7
Keyword [en]
United States, conservatism, political activism, Christianity
National Category
Social Anthropology
Research subject
Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80374ISBN: 978-91-87235-03-0OAI: diva2:558286
Public defence
2012-11-02, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2012-10-11 Created: 2012-09-19 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson, Erik
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