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Jane Addams (1860-1935) was an American settlement activist, reformer, social worker, sociologist, public administrator, and author. She was an important leader in the history of social work and women's suffrage in the US and advocated for world peace. She co-founded Chicago's Hull House, one of America's most famous settlement houses, and in 1910 was awarded an honorary m Jane Addams (1860-1935) was an American settlement activist, reformer, social worker, sociologist, public administrator, and author. She was an important leader in the history of social work and women's suffrage in the US and advocated for world peace. She co-founded Chicago's Hull House, one of America's most famous settlement houses, and in 1910 was awarded an honorary master of arts degree from Yale, becoming the first woman to receive an honorary degree from the school. In 1920 she was a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and in 1931 became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Addams is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the US, was a radical pragmatist, and the first woman "public philosopher" in the US. One of the most prominent reformers during the Progressive Era, she became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. Addams's book Democracy and Social Ethics, published in 1902, presents the substance of a course of twelve lectures which were delivered at various colleges and university extension centres, parts of which had also appeared in a number of journals including The Atlantic Monthly, The International Journal of Ethics, and The American Journal of Sociology. The subjects covered are Charitable Effort, Filial Relations, Household Adjustment, Industrial Amelioration, Educational Methods, and Political Reform.


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Jane Addams (1860-1935) was an American settlement activist, reformer, social worker, sociologist, public administrator, and author. She was an important leader in the history of social work and women's suffrage in the US and advocated for world peace. She co-founded Chicago's Hull House, one of America's most famous settlement houses, and in 1910 was awarded an honorary m Jane Addams (1860-1935) was an American settlement activist, reformer, social worker, sociologist, public administrator, and author. She was an important leader in the history of social work and women's suffrage in the US and advocated for world peace. She co-founded Chicago's Hull House, one of America's most famous settlement houses, and in 1910 was awarded an honorary master of arts degree from Yale, becoming the first woman to receive an honorary degree from the school. In 1920 she was a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and in 1931 became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Addams is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the US, was a radical pragmatist, and the first woman "public philosopher" in the US. One of the most prominent reformers during the Progressive Era, she became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. Addams's book Democracy and Social Ethics, published in 1902, presents the substance of a course of twelve lectures which were delivered at various colleges and university extension centres, parts of which had also appeared in a number of journals including The Atlantic Monthly, The International Journal of Ethics, and The American Journal of Sociology. The subjects covered are Charitable Effort, Filial Relations, Household Adjustment, Industrial Amelioration, Educational Methods, and Political Reform.

30 review for Democracy and Social Ethics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Larry Bassett

    I found it hard to put myself into the mind of a brilliant woman in 1902, a woman who was well aware of social issues and inequity. I will try to read her book 20 years at Hull house to see if I can get a better sense of her work and life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nick Klagge

    A fine book (pamphlet, almost), which touches on many of the themes Addams addresses in "Twenty Years at Hull-House." But without the focus on specific individuals and stories, the arguments lose some of their timeless quality. I can see why this book is not as widely read today as TYHH. A fine book (pamphlet, almost), which touches on many of the themes Addams addresses in "Twenty Years at Hull-House." But without the focus on specific individuals and stories, the arguments lose some of their timeless quality. I can see why this book is not as widely read today as TYHH.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pink

    Interesting ideas of democracy and more especially a look at social conditions of the time. A lot to like, especially if you enjoy this era of early 20th century America.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    It's fascinating to read Addams' arrival at core Pragmatic conclusions through lived experience of trying to help immigrants and working people survive and thrive in the rough and tumble world of late 19th century Chicago. Like her contemporary American theorists—Dewey, James, DuBois, Cooper, etc.—this is not a systematic theory or philosophy, but rather a roundabout description of "things as they are" combined with a normative argument for "things as they ought to be." From a 21st century persp It's fascinating to read Addams' arrival at core Pragmatic conclusions through lived experience of trying to help immigrants and working people survive and thrive in the rough and tumble world of late 19th century Chicago. Like her contemporary American theorists—Dewey, James, DuBois, Cooper, etc.—this is not a systematic theory or philosophy, but rather a roundabout description of "things as they are" combined with a normative argument for "things as they ought to be." From a 21st century perspective, Addams often violates many of our expectations for "correct" interactions with inequality and social stratification (e.g., referring to immigrant Italians as "peasants"), so you can get hung up on your own positions if you're not careful. And it's worth it to read carefully and meet Addams where she is (in the late 19th century) and follow her argument through to the end. In the education chapter, for example, if you don't read through the whole thing, you'll completely misunderstand what she sees as the humanity and capability of all people, including immigrants, and what American society owes them. Two things struck me as vitally important in her theory of democracy, especially given the current state of decline: 1) She argues that our day to day lived experience as Americans in a polyglot and plural cultural environment demands (she uses the Christian phrase, "calls us") to a different understanding of democracy, one that obligates us to see ourselves in our individual lives as they really are and to really see and understand our fellow citizens as they are. There is both a moral and a practical [not to be confused with Pragmatic] claim here. Morally, the actual conditions of democracy are those of radical constant encounter with what we might today call the cultural "other". Practically, if you want to either solve social problems or alleviate your fellows' suffering, you must actually see them with clear eyes. Fascinatingly, in the second chapter about "charity visitors" (roughly what today we might call a "social worker") she includes a rigorous critique of how the "helpers" misperceive those they help, which then leads them to misevaluate them (misapprehending moral behavior for "laziness" or "backwardness", etc.), which in turn leads to actions that do not in fact help. This recalls many of the current arguments about the role of "allies" in justice movements today. 2) In addition to insisting that knowledge and perspectives are built over lifetimes of experience and are inextricable from a person's actual life, Addams also makes the classic American Pragmatic move of insisting that knowledge detached from conscious action is ultimately both useless and, quite possibly, immoral. In a nutshell, the core of Addams' critique of unitedstatesian democracy is that it is not enough merely to believe in freedom, equality, justice, etc. Our lived experiences of inequality and suffering within the United States should make evident and, again, "call" us to action. It is only through action, to actually making a society that lives up to its ideals, that we are actually democratic. Note that she is not calling for prefection—indeed, she thinks that the enactment of democratic values will always have a slippery connection to lived conditions, and so must always be carefully watched. Rather, I think the conclusions we draw from her thinking is that democracy must always be thought of as something that we do, an action connected to values. And that, ultimately, is what she means by Social Ethics.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Scott Sanders

    Best known as the founder of Hull House, a community center in Chicago for immigrants and other marginalized people, Jane Addams was also a forceful thinker about social issues. This slender volume, first published in 1902, gathers a series of her lectures, all guided by a belief that American society was shifting from an individualistic ethic to a social one—as exemplified by the formation of trade unions, the settlement house movement, and socialist politics. Alas, her hopeful call for the evo Best known as the founder of Hull House, a community center in Chicago for immigrants and other marginalized people, Jane Addams was also a forceful thinker about social issues. This slender volume, first published in 1902, gathers a series of her lectures, all guided by a belief that American society was shifting from an individualistic ethic to a social one—as exemplified by the formation of trade unions, the settlement house movement, and socialist politics. Alas, her hopeful call for the evolution of a genuinely democratic ethic, one that emphasizes the common good over personal greed, makes for melancholy reading in 2020. Advertising, social media, global capitalism, and rule by plutocrats have combined to reinforce a self-centered ethic, elevating private wealth over public good, and undermining any sense that we all bear a responsibility to care for one another and for our shared world.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Albert Alarcon

    Nice bit of incite. A This book was written in 1909 and I found it very modern. I think the last chapter reflexes all what is going on with politics now. Why are we always repeating history? But in reality I think the first sentence of the book says it all. Ethics is to do what is right. Some parts were dated but still relevant, this book was made before women could vote. Altogether it is well worth reading and is in the public domain, so either free or dirt cheap, but the knowledge is priceless.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    There is a lot of wisdom in this small pamphlet but it is written in such a way as to seem academic in the extreme. That said, if someone were planning to work in a charitable field, I would highly recommend this as it is full of truths not found elsewhere and still quite relevant today. Jane Addams was not a believer in self-righteousness and she definitely put her money where her mouth was, so to speak.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I underestimated how dense this was. I would have been better served to have read it than listened to it. It was still interesting though. She is clearly an intelligent woman who cares about the poor.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alison Zipper

    I found this audio book really interesting! I have studied Jane Addams and taught about her to students before but always through secondary sources. I really enjoyed hearing her ideas through a primary source.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pete Davis

    Read this because I'm trying to read everything by American superhero Jane Addams. But, this book was quite dated: a few gems, but mostly a bunch of keen analyses of the intricacies of turn-of-the-century social reform that were not always transferable to today. Read this because I'm trying to read everything by American superhero Jane Addams. But, this book was quite dated: a few gems, but mostly a bunch of keen analyses of the intricacies of turn-of-the-century social reform that were not always transferable to today.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ally McCulloch

    I've learned that it's hard for people to accept that a woman's place is anywhere other than the home. I've learned that it's hard for people to accept that a woman's place is anywhere other than the home.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Sizemore

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maria

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maria

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Phillips

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ward Hammond

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vauwn Olson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nancy85

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cierra

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dawson Vandervort

  26. 4 out of 5

    Timothy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tina Duccini

  28. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

  29. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Neal

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

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