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Democracy and the Foreigner


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Table of Contents

Aknowledgments xiii Chapter 1. NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS: Switching the Question 1 Chapter 2. THE FOREIGNER AS FOUNDER 15 Dorothy and the Wizard 15 Rousseau's Lawgiver 18 Freud's Moses 25 Girard's Scapegoat 33 Democracy and Foreignness 38 Chapter 3. THE FOREIGNER AS IMMIGRANT 41 The Book of Ruth as a Foreign-Founder Text 41 Ruth 42 Immigration and Founding 45 Ozick's Ruth: Convert or Migrant? 48 Kristeva's Ruth: The Ideal Immigrant 55 Gender and the Foreign-Founder 58 Kristeva's Orpahs: Cosmopolitanism without Foreignness 62 Mourning, Membership, Agency, and Loss: Ruth's Lessons for Politics 67 Chapter 4. THE FOREIGNER AS CITIZEN 73 The Myth of an Immigrant America 73 Class Mobility as American Citizenship 80 Ethnic Bases of Social Democracy: Michael Walzer's Immigrant America 82 Foreign Brides, Family Ties, and New World Masculinity 86 Dramatizing Consent: The Universal Charms of American Democracy 92 Taking Liberties: Intimations of a Democratic Cosmopolitanism 98 Chapter 5. THE GENRES OF DEMOCRACY 107 Does Democracy Have a Genre? 108 Democracy's Romance: A Tale of Gothic Love 115 Notes 123 Bibliography 173 Index 199

Promotional Information

Bonnie Honig is a political thinker who doesn't define problems away but rather zeroes in on what problems reveal. Instead of asking 'What are we to do about foreigners?' she asks 'What unacknowledged work is the idea of the foreigner doing for us? And who is this us?' In investigating why founders (or re-founders) are so often foreigners, she has written a wonderfully timely and thought-provoking book. -- Barbara E. Johnson, Harvard University, author of "The Feminist Difference" In this brilliant and original work, Bonnie Honig shows how--from the Biblical Book of Ruth and its recent commentators through Freud, Rousseau, and contemporary U.S. political thinkers to Shane and The Wizard of Oz--the alien is recuperated for a national project that he or she also unsettles. A major contribution to democratic theory, and always engaged with concrete particulars, Democracy and the Foreigner is alive with insight on every page. -- Michael Rogin, University of California, Berkeley Honig perceptively identifies a topic--the diverse political uses of concepts and depictions of 'foreignness'--that is both topical and of enduring importance, yet rarely explored so explicitly and evocatively. Her work is stimulating and valuable even for those of us, perhaps most of all for those of us, with whom she disagrees. -- Rogers M. Smith, Alfred Cowles Professor of Government, Yale University Extremely interesting, well written, and imaginative. Surely there are few books that integrate into their argument Bernard Williams, the Book of Ruth, and the future of the nation-state in an increasingly fluid world. Honig raises vital questions about the tension between state-oriented 'localism' and more transnational 'cosmopolitanism.' -- Sanford Levinson, University of Texas, Austin

About the Author

Bonnie Honig is Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and Senior Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation. She is author of "Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics" and editor of "Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt".


"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

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