The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America’s Disimagination Machine

Henry A. Giroux. City Lights, $14.95 trade paper (290p) ISBN 978-0-87286-619-5
In this essay collection, McMaster University professor Giroux (Disposable Youth) lays out a blistering critique of an America governed by the tenets of a market economy. The author doesn’t pull punches in his excoriation of the “vapid culture of celebrity” and the neoliberal narrative that defies the “public’s desire for rigorous accountability, critical interrogation, and openness.” However, this takedown is mostly confined to targets inside the ivory tower; Giroux steeps himself in the work of other academics, particularly American sociologist C. Wright Mills. He cites French philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman’s concept of the “disimagination machine” to describe a culture and pedagogical philosophy that short-circuits citizens’ ability to think critically, leaving the generation now reaching adulthood unprepared for an “inhospitable” world. Picking apart the current malaise of 21st-century digital disorder, Giroux describes a world in which citizenship is replaced by consumerism and the functions of engaged governance are explicitly beholden to corporations. Unfortunately, his remedy is not especially convincing. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 08/01/2014
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