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Democracy and the Foreigner - Bonnie Honig

Democracy and the Foreigner

Paperback

Published: 2nd February 2003
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What should we do about foreigners? Should we try to make them more like us or keep them at bay to protect our democracy, our culture, our well-being? This dilemma underlies age-old debates about immigration, citizenship, and national identity that are strikingly relevant today. In "Democracy and the Foreigner," Bonnie Honig reverses the question: What problems might foreigners solve for us? Hers is not a conventional approach. Instead of lauding the achievements of individual foreigners, she probes a much larger issue--the symbolic politics of foreignness. In doing so she shows not only how our debates over foreignness help shore up our national or democratic identities, but how anxieties endemic to liberal democracy themselves animate ambivalence toward foreignness.

Central to Honig's arguments are stories featuring ''foreign-founders, '' in which the origins or revitalization of a people depend upon a foreigner's energy, virtue, insight, or law. From such popular movies as "The Wizard of Oz, Shane," and "Strictly Ballroom" to the biblical stories of Moses and Ruth to the myth of an immigrant America, from Rousseau to Freud, foreignness is represented not just as a threat but as a supplement for communities periodically requiring renewal. Why? Why do people tell stories in which their societies are dependent on strangers?

One of Honig's most surprising conclusions is that an appreciation of the role of foreigners in (re)founding peoples works neither solely as a cosmopolitan nor a nationalist resource. For example, in America, nationalists see one archetypal foreign-founder--the naturalized immigrant--as reconfirming the allure of deeply held American values, whereas to cosmopolitans this immigrant represents the deeply transnational character of American democracy. Scholars and students of political theory, and all those concerned with the dilemmas democracy faces in accommodating difference, will find this book rich with valuable and stimulating insights.

"Honig quite purposely twists the common question concerning whether immigration is good or bad... [She] provides a new take on foreignness and nation. Highly recommended."--Choice

Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Natives and Foreigners: Switching the Questionp. 1
The Foreigner as Founderp. 15
Dorothy and the Wizardp. 15
Rousseau's Lawgiverp. 18
Freud's Mosesp. 25
Girard's Scapegoatp. 33
Democracy and Foreignnessp. 38
The Foreigner as Immigrantp. 41
The Book of Ruth as a Foreign-Founder Textp. 41
Ruthp. 42
Immigration and Foundingp. 45
Ozick's Ruth: Convert or Migrant?p. 48
Kristeva's Ruth: The Ideal Immigrantp. 55
Gender and the Foreign-Founderp. 58
Kristeva's Orpahs: Cosmopolitanism without Foreignnessp. 62
Mourning, Membership, Agency, and Loss: Ruth's Lessons for Politicsp. 67
The Foreigner as Citizenp. 73
The Myth of an Immigrant Americap. 73
Class Mobility as American Citizenshipp. 80
Ethnic Bases of Social Democracy: Michael Walzer's Immigrant Americap. 82
Foreign Brides, Family Ties, and New World Masculinityp. 86
Dramatizing Consent: The Universal Charms of American Democracyp. 92
Taking Liberties: Intimations of a Democratic Cosmopolitanismp. 98
The Genres of Democracyp. 107
Does Democracy Have a Genre?p. 108
Democracy's Romance: A Tale of Gothic Lovep. 115
Notesp. 123
Bibliographyp. 173
Indexp. 199
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691114767
ISBN-10: 0691114765
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 2nd February 2003
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.77 x 16.61  x 1.42
Weight (kg): 0.34