The Importance of Being Civil
The Struggle for Political Decency
John A. Hall
Civility is desirable and possible, but can this fragile ideal be guaranteed? The Importance of Being Civil offers the most comprehensive look at the nature and advantages of civility throughout history and in our world today. Esteemed sociologist John Hall expands our understanding of civility as related to larger social forces—including revolution, imperialism, capitalism, nationalism, and war—and the ways that such elements limit the potential for civility.
Combining wide-ranging historical and comparative evidence with social and moral theory, Hall examines how the nature of civility has fluctuated in the last three centuries, how it became lost, and how it was reestablished in the twentieth century following the two world wars. He also considers why civility is currently breaking down and what can be done to mitigate this threat.
The Importance of Being Civil is a decisive and sophisticated addition to the discussion of civility in its modern cultural and historical contexts.
John A. Hall is the James McGill Professor of Comparative Historical Sociology at McGill University.