Our small societies are not gradually merging into one vast global society; instead, the simultaneously political, territorial, and cultural entities that we once called societies or countries are breaking up before our eyes in the wake of ethnic, political, and religious conflict. The result is that we live together only to the extent that we make the same gestures and use the same objects—we do not communicate with one another in a meaningful way or govern ourselves together.
What power can now reconcile a transnational economy with the disturbing reality of introverted communities? The author argues against the idea that all we can do is agree on some social rules of mutual tolerance and respect for personal freedom, and forgo the attempt to forge deeper bonds. He argues instead that we can use a focus on the personal life-project—the construction of an active self or “subject”—ultimately to form meaningful social and political institutions.
The book concludes by exploring how social institutions might be retooled to safeguard the development of the personal subject and communication between subjects, and by sketching out what these new social institutions might look like in terms of social relations, politics, and education.
eBook Can We Live Together?