Chapter

Contemporary American Culture

Martin Halliwell

in American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748626014
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670673 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748626014.003.0014
Contemporary American Culture

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Martin Halliwell begins this chapter by discussing pluralistic cultural currents at the turn of the twenty-first century which he links to President Clinton’s final State of the Union address of January 2000. This view is in stark contrast to a speech Clinton delivered after the attacks of 11 September 2001 where he expressed worries about the hardening of ideological and cultural battle lines. Halliwell considers the perceived decline of the public intellectual and intellectual communities as a way of testing the political fault-lines that run through early century American culture. The chapter moves on to consider how these fault-lines played out in the cultural sphere, discussing the re-emergence of politicized voices within the music industry, in the shape of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, and in outspoken films such as Good Night, and Good Luck (2004) and The 11th Hour (2007). The chapter ends by surveying the third section of this volume, indicating lines of cultural continuity as well as new developments in the early years of the twenty-first century.

Keywords: Pluralism; Bill Clinton; Public Intellectual; Music Industry; Film Industry; Neil Young; Bruce Springsteen

Chapter.  7727 words. 

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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