Follow us on Instagram.
“Charles Taylor presents a fundamental challenge to neoliberal apologists for the new world order—but not only to them. Anyone who wishes, as I do, to defend transcultural political ideals, notions of development, or the like, will have to face his formidable array of hermeneutically inspired reflections on Western modernity’s defining cultural formations. His particular take on the ‘social imaginary’ makes the strongest case there is for the idea of ‘multiple modernities.’”—Thomas McCarthy, Northwestern University — N/A
If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;
If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).
If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).
Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to email@example.com.
For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department.
If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.
Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.
Retelling the history of Western modernity, Taylor traces the development of a distinct social imaginary. Animated by the idea of a moral order based on the mutual benefit of equal participants, the Western social imaginary is characterized by three key cultural forms—the economy, the public sphere, and self-governance. Taylor’s account of these cultural formations provides a fresh perspective on how to read the specifics of Western modernity: how we came to imagine society primarily as an economy for exchanging goods and services to promote mutual prosperity, how we began to imagine the public sphere as a metaphorical place for deliberation and discussion among strangers on issues of mutual concern, and how we invented the idea of a self-governing people capable of secular “founding” acts without recourse to transcendent principles. Accessible in length and style, Modern Social Imaginaries offers a clear and concise framework for understanding the structure of modern life in the West and the different forms modernity has taken around the world.
Charles Taylor is Board of Trustees Professor of Law and Philosophy at Northwestern University, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Philosophy at McGill University, and former Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at Oxford University. He is the author of many books and articles, including Varieties of Religion Today: William James Revisited; Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity; The Ethics of Authenticity; Hegel; and the essay “The Politics of Recognition,” which appeared in Multiculturalism (edited by Amy Gutmann).
Sign up for Subject Matters email updates to receive discounts, new book announcements, and more.