Americanness: Inquiries into the Thought and Culture of the United States analyzes several core themes that connect Americans because of, and despite, their pronounced diversity.
The book investigates shared ideas and ideals, such as individualism, mobility, materialism, and future-orientation, that drive an overarching American worldview. Simon J. Bronner begins with ideas of space and time as they formed and changed through the history of the United States, before moving to the emergence of modern American culture. He examines reasons America is characterized as having a "victory culture" that extends to the American legal, military, and business complexes. This victory culture is further analyzed by looking at the country’s relationship with the game of football—a sport that thrives in America but has not caught on in other countries. Finally, the volume probes American consumerism driven by a desire for individual prosperity in a supposedly egalitarian society. Using interdisciplinary approaches drawn from psychology, sociology, ethnology, and history, Bronner seeks explanations for people invoking, and evoking, ideas that they perceive as American.
This book would be an invaluable addition to courses on American history, sociology, cultural studies, and American studies.
Simon J. Bronner is Dean of the College of General Studies and Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences and Business at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA. He is the author or editor of over 40 books and served as the editor of the Encyclopedia of American Studies and Youth Cultures in America.