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Kemmis, Daniel. Community and the Politics of Place. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1990 (150 pp.). Kemmis’s first book picks up where Bellah’s Habits of the Heart left off – that is, it offers specifics as to how people and government in particular can address the common good. The former mayor of Missoula, Kemmis focuses most of his insights on the notion of "place" – what he has called "bio-regionalism." In his view, one’s commitment to the common good begins with a sense of place. He believes "public life can only be reclaimed by understanding, and then practicing, its connection to real, identifiable places." That practice, then, becomes something like the republican tradition Jefferson advocated – a "face-to-face, hands-on approach to problem solving." The slim, quite accessible volume is also valuable for its overview of the meaning of "citizenship," as practiced in pre-American eras, as well as the evolution of the term during and after the American Revolution (especially the debate between Jefferson and the Federalists). The book includes recommendations not only for the individual citizen, but also for how business and government can better practice citizenship on a local level.


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