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Cut off in traffic? Bumped without apology on the subway? Forced to listen to a profane conversation in a public space? In today's Western societies, many feel that there has been a noticeable and marked decrease in mutual consideration in both public and private settings. Are we less civil now than in the past? Benet Davetian's masterful study Civility: A Cultural History responds to this question through a historical, social, and psychological discussion of the civility practices in three nations - England, France, and the United States.
Davetian's rich, multi-dimensional review of civility from 1200 to the present day provides an in-depth analysis of the social and personal psychology of human interaction and charts a new course for the study and understanding of civility and civil society. Civility addresses major topics in public discourse today regarding the ideals and practices of civility and the possibility of a future civility ethic capable of inspiring cooperation across cultural and national boundaries.