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Contesting ConformityDemocracy and the Paradox of Political Belonging$
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Jennie C. Ikuta

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190087845

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190087845.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

Countering Conformity through Intellectual Freedom in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

Countering Conformity through Intellectual Freedom in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

Chapter:
(p.32) 2 Countering Conformity through Intellectual Freedom in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America
Source:
Contesting Conformity
Author(s):

Jennie C. Ikuta

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190087845.003.0002

Chapter 2 examines nonconformity of opinion in Democracy in America, investigating what Tocqueville can teach us about the nature of intellectual freedom in a world increasingly dominated by public opinion and what can be done to foster such freedom. It argues that while Tocqueville sees why conformity—in terms of intellectual servitude—is easy under democratic conditions, it can and should be resisted for the sake of a healthier democracy. It shows that Tocquevillian intellectual freedom consists in the freedom to dissent, which is fostered through private and public expressions of social support for individuals who dissent from public opinion. It also examines Tocquevillian public opinion in two domains: race and religion.

Keywords:   Alexis deTocqueville, intellectual servitude, public opinion, dissent, intellectual freedom, slavery, religion, isolation, social ostracism, social support

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