Faded Mosaic

The Emergence of Post-Cultural America

Book Description

Contrary to today's widespread emphasis on cultural diversity, the United States has become not a multicultural society but the world's first post-cultural society. Cultures, Christopher Clausen argues, have lost power over both public and private behavior. This largely unrecognized transformation has enormous importance for every area of American life, from marriage to politics. One of its most prevalent social expressions is an aimless, conformist individualism—because there is no longer any source of authority or value outside the self. The multiculturalism of leftist politics and the family values of the right are both futile expressions of nostalgia for a world (differently interpreted, of course) that is gone forever. In Faded Mosaic, Mr. Clausen brings his analysis down to earth with telling illustrations from contemporary life. He demonstrates how the moral demands and collective identities of America's native and immigrant cultures have vanished. In striking contrast to societies of the past, he declares, the United States today has neither one big culture nor many smaller ones, only a dizzying mixture of freedom and nostalgia. Original and penetrating, a serious critique.... It is the great virtue of Faded Mosaic that Mr. Clausen describes our present condition without hysterics or posturing—but with the caution, objectivity and concern that the subject deserves. —Eric Cohen, Wall Street Journal

About Clausen, Christopher