Tocqueville in Democracy in America on the Art of Association (2140 words)

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Question

Provide an exegesis of Tocqueville's observation that "feelings and ideas are renewed, the heart enlarged, and the understanding developed only by the reciprocal action of men one upon another" ( Democracy in America, Vol. II, Part II, Ch 5, p.515).
What is the challenge to be addressed in the democratic age?
How do face-to-face relations dress it?
Are such relations likely to prevail?
Why or why not?

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Exegesis of Tocqueville in Democracy in America on the Art of Association

In this paper I will provide an exegesis and affirmation of association as it relates to Alexis De Tocqueville’s critique of the “democratic age” based on the following passage in Democracy in America (1835; 1840) where he writes that “feelings and ideas are renewed, the heart enlarged, and the understanding developed only by the reciprocal action of men one upon another” (Vol. II, Part II, Ch 5, p.515). Tocqueville thinks that in a democratic age the desire for equality must be counterbalanced with the art of association, a rich layer of individual interaction in society. An active reading of Tocqueville’s text prompts us to think about the challenge to be addressed in this “democratic age” and whether or not our living together in society, as a “reciprocal action of men one upon the other,” will prevail....

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