In This Review

Visions and Revisions: Reflections on Culture and Democracy at the End of the Century
Visions and Revisions: Reflections on Culture and Democracy at the End of the Century
By Marcus G. Raskin
Olive Branch Press, 1995, 341 pp.

This collection of essays begins with a stinging critique of the 1992 U.S. presidential candidates for the narrowness of their visions and then articulates a vision for the post--Cold War left striking in its breadth and comprehensiveness. Unlike Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., or Todd Gitlin, Raskin has no problems with the disintegration of a universalistic rights-based grounding for modern democracy. He embraces multiculturalism and relativism as the necessary frameworks by which women, minorities, and gays can be brought to the table and spends an entire chapter arguing for the "socially constructed" nature of modern science. I do not think you can get to the values Raskin favors like inclusiveness, caring, liberation, and the like by this route, since everything would then dissolve into stories told by different groups, but the effort is in certain ways impressive.