Communicating Democracy: or Shine, Perishing Republic

Eugene Halton

in The Great Brain Suck

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226314655
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226314679 | DOI:
Communicating Democracy: or Shine, Perishing Republic

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When one looks at recent presidential elections, political symbolism appears to be so powerful in the United States as to have utterly annihilated politics. Not only has political discourse been gutted by hype and media sensationalism, but also the very nature of the public sphere—including the communicative practices that constitute a public life as well as the physical places in which these take place—has been corroded by the dual materializing and etherealizing processes of megatechnic America. By examining two different kinds of public spaces as self-representations of democracy, this chapter hopes to bring to light some of the dark tendencies that have transformed the American vision of autonomy into the dream of automatic culture and kitsch.

Keywords: political symbolism; sensationalism; public life; megatechnic America; democracy; public spaces; autonomy; automatic culture; kitsch

Chapter.  10669 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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