Wednesday, December 16, 2020

"Inventing the Ties That Bind"

New from the University Chicago Press: Imagined Relationships in Moral and Political Life by Francesca Polletta.

About the book, from the publisher:
From deciding to hold the door for the person behind you, to resolving for whom you will cast your vote, every day we find ourselves charged with making moral decisions. What steers our choices? And how do we weigh competing priorities and moral convictions? In Inventing the Ties That Bind, Francesca Polletta shows that we do not solve these dilemmas, whether personal or political, based on self-interest alone. Instead, relationships serve as a kind of moral compass. People consider the nature of their ties to one another to know what their obligations are, and in situations that are unfamiliar, they sometimes figure out the right thing to do by imagining themselves in relationships they do not actually have. Polletta takes up a wide range of cases, from debt settlement agencies to the southern civil rights movement, revealing that our relationships and how we imagine them are at the heart of our moral lives—guiding us as we choose whom to help and how we define what it means to treat someone as our equal. In a time of growing polarization, understanding how we make sense of our ties to one another is more urgent than ever.
--Marshal Zeringue