The Politics of Everyday Life


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Making Choices, Changing Lives

Paul Ginsborg

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A passionate defense of local politics in an age dominated by global media empires.

Concern over the present state of the world—its tensions and disparities--fosters in many people the uneasy combination of two sensations: urgency and powerlessness. We feel that something must be done before it is too late, but we have little idea of what we as individuals, or as families, or as groups of friends, can possibly do to stem the tide.

This book explores the choices we have. It considers the options for civil society, and for the individual within today’s political culture. It offers a strong critique of the prevailing model of modernity in developed countries, a model which is being exported and imposed on the rest of the world.

The solution lies in our own hands. We need to rethink the choices we make on a day-to-day basis: the ways we use our time, the family lives we live, the sorts of goods and services we consume, the quality of democracy we are able to exercise. The individual, the local, and the global are inextricably intertwined, in positive as well as in negative ways. Passivity and indifference at the individual level contribute greatly to collective dismay at the condition of the world.

Paul Ginsborg taught at Cambridge before becoming professor of contemporary European history at the University of Florence. He has become vigorously involved in Italian civic affairs, especially in reaction to Silvio Berlusconi, and his critical biography of Berlusconi reached the top of the Italian non-fiction bestseller charts. He is also the author of A History of Contemporary Italy and Italy and Its Discontents.

A selection of the Conservative Book Club 

“At the heart of the book is an analysis of ‘everyday’ politics and what kind of links can be established between individual choices and global politics. Ginsborg’s themes are relevant to the politics of many countries, particularly those in Europe and North America.”—Andrew Gamble, Sheffield University



“This book has all Ginsborg’s usual strengths: fluency, vitality, vividness, and a wonderful warmth and directness.”—John Dunn, Cambridge University

"An incisive diagnosis of the ills of the body politic."—Publishers Weekly

“Succinct and lucid. . . . Ginsborg is best known for his authoritative surveys of postwar Italy. . . . In recent years Mr. Ginsborg has been a protagonist in the movement to strengthen Italian civil society and reconfigure the Italian left to meet the challenge of defeating Mr. Berlusconi.”—New York Times, review of Berlusconi

“Ginsborg is never judgemental, though he is devastatingly thorough and occasionally mischievously witty.”—Times Literary Supplement

'Paul Ginsborg has written an attractive and imaginative work... His book offers many insights and contains passages of great literary force.' - Robin Blackburn, Times Literary Supplement

“Ginsborg…argues, with lots of vivid detail, that participatory democracy is an essential complement to representative democracy.” - Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian
ISBN: 9780300107487
Publication Date: July 11, 2005
224 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Sales Restrictions: Not for sale in South Asia
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