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Thursday, March 23, 2023, at 4:00pm – 6:00pm EDT

Book Talk Series: The Culture of Democracy: A Sociological Approach to Civil Society

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The first talk in this series will feature Bin Xu, associate professor of sociology at Emory University, on his recent book The Culture of Democracy: A Sociological Approach to Civil Society (Polity, 2022). In the book, Xu provides the first systematic survey of the cultural sociology of civil society and offers a committed global perspective on pressing issues in today’s world. Against the bleak backdrop of upheavals, wars, and catastrophes, civil societies remain vibrant, animated by people’s belief that they should and can solve such issues and build a better society. Their imagination of a good society, their understanding of their engagement, and the ways they choose to act constitute the cultural aspect of civil society. Central to this cultural aspect of civil society is the “culture of democracy,” including normative values, individual interpretations, and interaction norms pertaining to features of a democratic society, such as civility, independence, and solidarity. In this talk, Xu highlights the culture of democracy in China and related societies, especially Hong Kong and overseas Chinese communities, addressing the challenges Chinese civil societies face and the hopes that the challenges imply.