Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America

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Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America is a book written by James Davison Hunter and published in 1991. It concerns the idea of a struggle to define American public life between two cultures: the progressives and the orthodox. The book illustrates its framework of historical analysis through several of the contemporary issues of the time: abortion rights, school prayer, gay rights, and more.[1]

Progressive and orthodox views are primarily systems of moral understanding. He identifies orthodoxy as a viewpoint through which moral truth is static, universal, and sanctioned through divine powers; contrasting progressivism, which sees moral truth as evolving and contextual. These two groups are locked in an everlasting "culture war"[2] to assert dominion over the various institutional and systemic entities influenced by contemporary cultural praxis, most visibly the governing branches of America.[3][4]


  1. ^ Kowaleski, Mark R. (Fall 1992). "James Davison Hunter. "Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America" (Book Review)". Sociological Analysis. 53 (3): 337–338. doi:10.2307/3711713. JSTOR 3711713.
  2. ^ Willick, Jason (2018-05-25). "The Man Who Discovered 'Culture Wars'". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  3. ^ "Is There a Culture War?". 23 May 2006.
  4. ^ "Book Reviews, Sites, Romance, Fantasy, Fiction".