Saving Liberalism from Itself

The Spirit of Political Participation

By Timothy Stacey

Published

Jun 1, 2022

Page count

206 pages

ISBN

978-1529215489

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jun 1, 2022

Page count

206 pages

ISBN

978-1529215496

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jun 1, 2022

Page count

206 pages

ISBN

978-1529215496

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Saving Liberalism from Itself

In the wake of populism, Timothy Stacey’s book critically reflects on what is missing from the liberal project with the aim of saving liberalism.

It explains that populists have harnessed myth, ritual, magic and tradition to advance their ambitions, and why opponents need to embrace rather than eschew them. Using examples of liberally oriented activists in Vancouver, it presents an accessible theorization of these quasi-religious concepts in secular life.

The result is to provide both a new theoretical understanding of why liberalism fails to engage people, and a toolkit for campaigners, policymakers and academics seeking to bridge the gap between liberal aspirations and lived experiences, in order to promote political engagement and to create unity out of division.

"This is an original contribution to the field – it shows the weakness of liberalism without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It is a very urgent book that offers the inspiration and hope that we so often lack these days." Jan Willem Duyvendak, University of Amsterdam

“At this critical moment in the history of liberal democracy, when we have become so polarized that it threatens our very system of government, what can we do to heal ourselves? Stacey reminds us that we lead richer and happier lives when we see ourselves not as separate, self-interested individuals, but as part of a larger human community. To rekindle our commitments to each other and heal our fragmented society, Stacey argues, we need new myths that encourage collective political action.” Helena Rosenblatt, City University of New York

“In a bold empirical and conceptual move, Stacey explores the contours of lived liberalisms which are navigating the conflicts of individualism and rootedness with the help of rediscovered myths, rituals and re-enchantments. His claim that these form the basis of a new civic solidarity in an increasingly fragmented West deserves serious attention.” Chris Baker, Goldsmiths, University of London

Timothy Stacey is Researcher in the Urban Future Studio at Utrecht University.

1. Alternatives on the Horizon

2. What’s Liberalism Got to Do with It?

3. How to Address Liberalism’s Faults

4. A Variety of Liberalism in Vancouver

5. Myths that Might Save Liberalism: Emotional Supplements to Moral Logics

6. Rituals for Radicals

7. Magical Feelings as the Source and Aim of Myths and Rituals

8. Traditions at the End of History

9. The Truth Won’t Save Us