Healthy Conflict in Contemporary American Society: From Enemy to Adversary

Jason A. Springs

Cambridge University Press, 2018

US citizens perceive their society to be one of the most diverse and religiously tolerant in the world today. Yet seemingly intractable religious intolerance and moral conflict abound throughout contemporary US public life - from abortion law battles, same-sex marriage, post-9/11 Islamophobia, public school curriculum controversies, to moral and religious dimensions of the Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street movements, and Tea Party populism. Healthy Conflict in Contemporary American Society develops an approach to democratic discourse and coalition-building across deep moral and religious divisions. Drawing on conflict transformation in peace studies, recent American pragmatist thought, and models of agonistic democracy, Jason Springs argues that, in circumstances riven with conflict between strong religious identities and deep moral and political commitments, productive engagement may depend on thinking creatively about how to constructively utilize conflict and intolerance. The result is an approach oriented by the recognition of conflict as a constituent and life-giving feature of social and political relationships.

  • Brings recent American pragmatist thought, agonistic democracy, ethical analysis, and conflict transformation in peace studies into integrative conversation
  • Proposes a new view for addressing religious and moral conflict in contemporary United States
  • Addresses concrete instances of religious, moral, and political conflict of recent US contexts: Occupy Wall Street, the Black Lives Matter movement, abortion law controversies, public school textbook and curriculum battles