Uncivil Agreement Chapter Summaries
This data suggests that Americans are not getting increasingly angry because the highest-ranked identities fuel the highest anger. They become more angry because people who tend to react without anger (those with transversal identities) disappear. As sorting continues in Chapter 3, the people who have the best chance of remaining calm in the face of political conflicts are shrinking in proportion to the electorate. (99) A certain degree of antipathy – at least if it is not from a personal point of view – may reflect disagreements in principle, not prejudices at all. But there is a big difference between a certain degree of antipathy and the forms of partiism we are now seeing” (10). – Cass Sunstein (2015) In Mason`s fifth chapter, perhaps the most important in the book, she provides evidence that these are socially sorted supporters rather than supporters with extremely problematic positions, who are more likely to dislike members of the other party and show prejudices in favor of their own party. For example, Democrats who also call themselves liberals are more likely to dislike Republicans, even if the same Democrats have relatively moderate or even conservative positions. In subsequent chapters, Mason addresses this point and shows that citizens whose partisan identities overlap with their ideology, race, or religious orientation are more likely to express anger against members of the other party and are more likely to bring that anger to the public by participating more avidly in politics. This is the American identity crisis. Not that we have partisan identities, we`ve always had them. Crisis arises when partisan identities are reconciled with other social identities and fuel our intolerance toward each other at a level that is not supported by our degree of political disagreement.
(63) I have listed below not only the titles of the eight chapters, but also the subtitles of the first level, which provide an excellent overview of the book. Many of these results are discussed in the following chapters. In this final chapter, the author asks, ”How does American politics return to the work of governance instead of focusing so much energy on victory, conflict, and partisan pride?” ”Political polarization in America is at an all-time high and the conflict has evolved beyond differences of opinion on political issues. Lilliana Mason Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity is by far the best book on American politics I`ve read in years. I want to say that in two respects. First, the book addresses perhaps the most pressing political question: why is American public opinion becoming increasingly polarized? The answer – that the growing overlap between identities is changing the way citizens see themselves and others – provides a clear understanding of polarisation. But it`s not just an important book, it`s a good book. Mason constructs a meticulous argument based on social psychology, and each chapter of the book builds sequentially on the previous one. The result is a book that is more than the sum of the parts and represents a big step forward in this area. I no longer counted the number of times Mason demonstrated a point that clearly expressed an idea I had about politics.
There are few books that make this kind of contribution to a vital issue, as Uncivil Agreement does….