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Bellah, Robert, et al. The Good Society. New York: Vintage, 1991 (347 pp.). This follow-up to Habits of the Heart discusses how institutions can address and help to nourish the idea of community in America – from political, religious, economic, and educational points of view. Although it falls short of its early promise (that is, there could be more "how-to" and examples), the study has important arguments to make as to why business, government, and education in particular should listen. As Bellah et al. do in Habits of the Heart, they rail against the individualistic, selfish, rights-based attitude of not only individuals but, this time, institutions where the bottom line is sovereign. Just as the authors’ earlier work encourages people to become more involved in their communities, this book argues for institutions, which they call "patterns of social activity that give shape to collective and individual experiences," to help maintain and further our democratic heritage. Some of these ideas are manifest, no doubt, in movements like "public journalism" and "corporate social responsibility."


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