Christian ethicists from a wide spectrum of methods and commitments come together in arguing for some kind of social conception of the self, noticing that convergence sheds new light on the current range of theoretical options in Christian ethics. But it also opens up an important conversation about political reform. Social visions of the self help ethicists comprehend and evaluate the moral work of institutions - comprehension that is especially important in a time of crisis for democratic participation. But not all visions of the social self are equal. Snarr's book explores and evaluates five different visions of the social self from five key ethicists (Rauschenbusch, Niebuhr, Hauerwas, Harrison, and Townes). It identifies insights and risks associated with each vision of the self and considers the adequacy of each vision for reforms that deepen democracy. The book concludes with a proposal for six core convictions about the social self that help form Christian political ethics able to respond to contemporary needs for democratic reform.
C. Melissa Snarr is Assistant Professor of Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University Divinity School and Graduate Division of Religion