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Napper Week 1 Discussion Post

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The is assignment is a two part assignment. the first part of assignment is to answer to read and answer the questions below which is due by Saturday. The second part is to respond to two classmates post. Which I will send after classmates the post the response. or i can provide login and you can choose the classmates to respond to and send me the link so i can review and post. Let me know if you have a problem completing this assignment.

Part 1
According to sociologists, Bellah et al. in Habits of the Heart (2007) and social commentator Dionne (2012) in Our Divided Political Heart, there are two strains in history and the underlying set of values that are important to us as member of that society – individualism and communitarianism. Both have shaped our values and sense of who we are as Americans.

On the one hand, we are individualistic – intent in meeting our individual needs and pursuing our individual instrumental (material success) and expressive (personal non-material happiness) needs and goals.

On the other hand, we seek community – the sense of belonging to and active in a larger group and fulfilling the needs of the community and its members.

While individualism is more concrete and easier to identify, communitarianism is more abstract (though see the article on communitarianism in the readings, particular what the authors says about views toward political systems ability to achieve a “good life” other than democracy).

Social institutions fulfill social needs that drive both individualistic and communitarian tendencies in American Society.

Sociologists view social institutions (family, government, economic, education, religion, media) as socially created structures or organizational systems that function to satisfy basic social needs by linking the individual to the larger culture.

Today, some might argue that extreme individualism has become dominant. [Another position is that our society is currently dominated by tribalism or a sense of community based on in-group identities (those like “us”), and often at the expense and derogation of out-group members].

As an example of the first position, in his book Bowling Alone (2000), political scientist Robert Putnam concluded that Americans’ participation in civic groups and organizations of all kinds declined in the last decades of the 20th century. This trend accelerated since then. From 1994 to 2005 membership in civic groups, including voluntary community organizations, fell by 21%. In a 2010 census survey, 11% of respondents said that they had served as an officer or been on a committee of any group or organization in the previous year. For Putnam, this trend constituted a decline in Americans norms of reciprocity between the benefits of individual rights and freedom and participation in sustaining those norms via civic engagement.

There is a positive relationship between civic involvement and voting. When compared to other western societies <link is hidden> voter turn-out is low. The Pew Research Center compiled voter turnout data from the The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IIDEA) for developed countries. It found that the United States clearly lagged behind most of its peers when it came to turnout: The <link is hidden> ranked 31st among the 35 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The IIDEA data found that 53.6 percent of the <link is hidden> population voted in 2012 (and this is typically for presidential election years in the <link is hidden> though there was an uptick in 2018 – see the FiveThirtyEight article in e-resources). Meanwhile, Belgium had an 87.2 percent turnout rate in 2014, Turkey’s was 84.3 percent in 2015, and Sweden’s was 82.5 percent in 2014.

Considering the above and the readings for this week, respond to the following questions on the Discussion Board (please post all initial responses in one post) by Thursday night at midnight, EST

In what ways are the values of individualism and communitarianism, although seemingly in opposition, both critical to a liberal democracy?
After reading the article on communitarianism, do you feel you follow the philosophical tradition of liberalism or of communitarianism when it comes to your view of democracy (note: Don’t confuse “liberalism” with “liberal” in American politics – you have to read the article to understand the meaning of liberalism in American political history).
In your opinion why did citizens vote in the latest 2018 elections in higher numbers than past mid-term elections? (Please consider your view in light of the trends noted in the FiveThirtyEight article in Week 1 e-resources (Dottle et al., 2018) Link fro article: <link is hidden> /> Why do you think other western societies vote at higher levels than Americans?

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