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Giroux on Media

Giroux interview continues.

Giroux discusses the problem with media in the neo-liberal age

Speaking on popular media, Giroux notes


Mainstream popular culture is a distraction and disimagination machine in which mass emotions are channeled towards an attraction for spectacles while suffocating all vestiges of the imagination, promoting the idea that any act of critical thinking is an act of stupidity, and offering up the illusion of agency through gimmicks like voting on American Idol. 





functions to produce particular desires, subjectivities, and identities.


He also contends that


It has become one of the most important and powerful sites of education or what I have called an oppressive form of public pedagogy.  


He explains that


Film, television, talk radio, video games, newspapers, social networks, and online media do not merely entertain us, they are also teaching machines that offer interpretations of the world and largely function to produce a public with limited political horizons.  


and that


They both titillate and create a mass sensibility that is conducive to maintaining a certain level of consent while legitimating the dominant values, ideologies, power relations, and policies that maintain regimes of neoliberalism.


and that


There are a number of registers through which popular culture produces a subject willing to become complicit with their own oppression.


He discusses how


Celebrity culture collapses the public into the private and reinforces a certain level of stupidity.


He stresses that


It infantilizes as it seduces and promotes a kind of civic death.  


and that


Surveillance culture undermines notions of privacy and is largely interested into locking people into strangulating orbits of privatization and atomization.


and that


A militarized popular culture offers up the spectacle of violence and a hyper-masculine image of agency as both a site of entertainment and as a mediating force through which to solve all problems.


He notes that


Violence now becomes the most important element of power and mediating force in shaping social relationships.


and that


Market culture functions largely to turn people into consumers, suggesting that the only obligation of citizenship is to shop.


He points out that


This is largely a way to depoliticize the population and distract them from recognizing their capacities as critically engaged agents and to empty out any notion of politics that would demand thoughtfulness, social responsibility, and the demands of civic courage.


and that


As the late  Stuart Hall argued, there is also a subversive side to popular culture both as a site of resistance and also as a sphere in which education becomes central to politics. 


And adds that


This was particularly clear when he argued that the left “has no sense of politics being educative, of politics changing the way people see things.”

He was pointing in part to failure of the left to take seriously the political unconscious and the need to use alternative media, theater, on-line journals and news outlets.


He notes that

At the same time, there is enormous pedagogical value in bringing attention in the rare oppositional representations offered within the dominant media.


and that


In this instance, popular culture can be a powerful resource to map and critically engage the everyday, mobilize alternative narratives to capitalism, activate those needs vital to producing more critical and compassionate modes of subjectivity.


He stresses that


Film, television, news programs, social media, and other instruments of culture can be used to make education central to a politics that is emancipatory and utterly committed to developing a democratic formative culture.


and that 

At stake here is the need for progressives to not only understand popular culture and its cultural apparatuses as modes of dominant ideology but to also take popular culture seriously as a tool to revive the radical imagination and to make education central to politics so as to change the way people think, desire, and dream.


He says that


Stanley Aronowitz is right in arguing that “education would be one of the crucial tasks of a radical political formation” and would need to launch a comprehensive educational program extending from the creation of online journals and magazines to the development of alternative schools.


Posted by Alon Serper on 02 June 2014 12:47:53

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