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The Politics of Moral Capital

The Politics of Moral Capital


Part of Contemporary Political Theory

  • Author: John Kane, Griffith University, Queensland
  • Date Published: August 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521663571

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About the Authors
  • It is often said that politics is an amoral realm of power and interest in which moral judgment is irrelevant. In this book, by contrast, John Kane argues that people's positive moral judgments of political actors and institutions provide leaders with an important resource, which he christens 'moral capital'. Negative judgements cause a loss of moral capital which jeopardizes legitimacy and political survival. Studies of several historical and contemporary leaders - Lincoln, de Gaulle, Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi - illustrate the significance of moral capital for political legitimation, mobilizing support, and the creation of strategic opportunities. In the book's final section, Kane applies his arguments to the American presidency from Kennedy to Clinton. He argues that a moral crisis has afflicted the nation at its mythical heart and has been refracted through and enacted within its central institutions, eroding the moral capital of government and people and undermining the nation's morale.

    • Original look at the role of morality in politics
    • Is hardheaded without being dismissive of the real effects of moral judgment in politics
    • Provides novel and persuasive interpretations of famous political people and events
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The Politics of Moral Capital is one of the few books to investigate how and why morality matters to politics and, less broadly, how popular judgments about moral leadership facilitate or impede political action. Kane's thoughtful study examines each of these questions in depth and will b e of interest to political scientists, historians, and anyone interested in studying nineteenth- and twentieth-century political leadership.' Asian Journal of Politics

    '… this book stands as a refreshing effort to come to terms with the inescapably moral character of political life. It is also an important contribution to the academic study of statesmanship.' Journal of Democracy

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2001
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521663571
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Moral Capital:
    1. Moral capital and politics
    2. Moral capital and leadership
    Part II. Moral Capital in Times of Crisis:
    3. Abraham Lincoln - the long-purposed man
    4. Charles de Gaulle - the man of storms
    Part III. Moral Capital and Dissident Politics:
    5. Nelson Mandela - the moral phenomenon
    6. Aung San Suu Kyi - her father's daughter
    Part IV. Moral Capital and the American Presidency:
    7. Kennedy and American virtue
    8. Crisis
    9. Aftermath
    10. Denouement.

  • Author

    John Kane, Griffith University, Queensland

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