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Clint Eastwood Westerns and the Ethics of Social Reconfiguration

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Title: Clint Eastwood Westerns and the Ethics of Social Reconfiguration
Subject Classification: Arts, Morals, Philosophy 
BIC Classification: HPQ, AB, HP
BISAC Classification: PHI005000, PER004150, PER018000
Binding: Hardback, ebook, pp.(to be confirmed)
Planned Publication date: May 2025
ISBN (Hardback): 978-1-80441-704-1
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-80441-705-8


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While known as a Western actor and filmmaker, Clint Eastwood has only directed four films that easily fit within the Western genre: High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider, and Unforgiven. These four films all fit into what this text calls the Western of Social Reconfiguration because they include the following arguments: that injustice perpetrated by dominant social groups deserves punishment; that in order to punish and overthrow dominant social groups, violent coercion is necessary; and that the necessary coercion challenges and threatens notions of individual morality. 

Eastwood’s Westerns examine the tension between individual and group morality when faced with social injustice. They relate in this way to ideas presented by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in his book Moral Man and Immoral Society that individuals, through educational and moral training, can shape their morality for the better while large groups cannot. Eastwood’s films explore the individual’s role in helping to reshape social inequalities when the actions needed to help the larger group conflict with the morality of the individual.


Author: Dr. Bryan Mead is Assistant Professor of English and Director of Academic Success, East Texas Baptist University, USA


This title is currently being reviewed. Please check back for further updates in due course. 

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