mardi 6 juillet 2010
Sacvan Bercovitch, THE RITES OF ASSENT; TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE SYMBOLIC CONSTRUCTION OF AMERICA, Routledge, New York, 1993
In earlier chapters I advanced this model as a description of what we have come to term the American ideology. Here I would like to enter two caveats. The first is that the term itself is somewhat misleading. The American ideology suggests something almost allegorical - some abstract corporate monolith - whereas in fact the American ideology reflects a particular set of interests, the power structures and conceptual forms of liberal society in the United States, as these evolved through three centuries of conflicts, upheaval, transformation, and discontinuity. So considered, "America" is not an overarching synthesis, e pluribus unum, but a rhetorical battleground, a symbol that has been made to stand for diverse and sometimes mutually contradictory outlooks. My second caveat tends in the opposite direction - a qualification of the qualification. I would urge that, in spite of all the diversity and conflict, the American ideology has achieved a hegemony unequalled elsewhere in the modern world. For all its manifold, it is an exemple par excellence of the successful interaction between resctriction and release.