City of Rhetoric by David Fleming

By David Fleming

Combining a close case research of Chicago's Cabrini eco-friendly city revitalization undertaking with the worries of contemporary political philosophy and rhetorical schooling, David Fleming examines the connection among public discourse and the outfitted setting within the modern usa. For greater than part a century, low-income African American citizens of the Cabrini eco-friendly public housing venture have struggled opposed to the extraordinary spatial inequality in their metropolitan quarter. the writer examines 3 varied suggestions regarded as a part of revitalization efforts for the local: the dispersal of the project's citizens into the mostly white suburbs of Chicago; the construction of a low-rise, mixed-income "urban village" at the comparable website; and the conversion of 1 of the unique constructions right into a democratically ruled, not-for-profit housing cooperative.

The writer argues that every of those initiatives contains imagining the actual, socioeconomic, and rhetorical group of the modern urban in dramatically alternative ways. thought of jointly, the initiatives offer facts that areas nonetheless subject in human flourishing, yet exhibit that the locations of our modern panorama are unequal in assets and possibilities, and that our public philosophies help this inequality. Fleming reminds us, notwithstanding, that those preparations are plastic and will be redesigned to mirror a extra equitable sharing of public difficulties and assets.

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And the way we know this is that we routinely make discriminations among them: we know which are better and which are worse, which are ours and which are someone else’s. And this is true even on a global scale: despite the apparent geographic neutrality of the new world economy, characterized by nothing so much as the increased mobility of jobs, capital, goods, and people, some places are flourishing, while others are not. Production itself may be dispersed, but different kinds of production are increasingly concentrated, so that some parts of the globe have become home to predominantly lowwage, low-skill manufacturing and tourism labor, others to mainly high-wage, high-skill information and service work, and others to not much of anything at all.

31 Liberalism A liberal approach to public life, by contrast, is one that privileges individual rights above all else—including the right not to be involved in politics. The only common good is the right of each to pursue his or her own good; and the purpose of public life is to ensure that this right is protected. To facilitate that project, the group needs not so much constant participation by all in public life, or even common assent to particular beliefs and values, as it does laws, procedures, and institutions that guarantee fairness and dictate as little as possible in the way of substance.

Republicans thus tend to evince nostalgia for relatively small, independent, selfgoverning, and self-sufficient human communities, founded and maintained by selfless citizens zealously guarding their own and their fellows’ freedom through physical combat and public displays of verbal eloquence, practical wisdom, and communal spirit. Republicanism therefore rests on a demanding image of civic life; its ethical basis, “the ancient ideal of the homo politicus . . 30 In addition, republicans’ focus on the common good, and on 26 City of Rhetoric the individual’s selfless sacrifice to it, can be stifling, leaving little room for difference or anonymity.

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