I’ll be presenting a paper titled, “How Do Cultures Really Change? — James Davison Hunter’s Challenge to the Conventional Culture Wisdom” at the Academic Roundtable at Oxbridge 2011 July 26 – August 3, 2011, sponsored by the C.S. Lewis Foundation.
James Davison Hunter’s 2010 book, “To Change the World…” challenges the conventional wisdom on culture and culture change, claiming that the “common view” is based on idealism, individualism and pietism.
My paper evaluates Hunter’s critique of this “common view,” states Hunter’s alternative view on culture and culture change, and then focuses on two of Hunter’s eleven propositions considered most controversial and significant—“Cultures Change from the Top-Down, Rarely if Ever from the Bottom-Up,” and “World-Changing is Most Concentrated When the Networks of Elites and the Institutions They Lead Overlap.” I then draw implications for the transformation of contemporary Western Culture.