This article argues that conceptions of community after Dewey despair of an institutional means of recovering individuality, which is the central problem of democracy. They so despair, I contend, because of their politicized view of the individual. I first briefly consider the contrast between Dewey and contemporary proceduralists and civic republicans, before turning to my central discussion: C. Wright Mills, whose critique indicates a historical watershed for Dewey’s view of community. Ultimately, despair of a Deweyan sense of community issues in a contemporary stalemate between what I identify as the political “activist” and “apathist.”

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