Death's Dream Kingdom

Death's Dream Kingdom : The American Psyche Since 9-11

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"Davis writes with fervor, vision, and keen moral appreciation of our condition. He encourages us to see what we fear to see, to say what we fear to say. This book is illuminating, challenging, fierce." Michael Eigen, author of The Sensitive Self, Rage, Ecstasy, Toxic Nourishment, Damaged Bonds andThe Psychoanalytic Mystic 'An unsettling book, passionately and lovingly crafted by a superb and unique writer and thinker.' Counterpunch 'Davis argues that ideology is not so much a matter of what you believe as why you believe it...[An] important book.' Eugene Holland, Ohio State University Why is fear a dominant emotion in contemporary society? Why are politicians using words like 'terror', 'evil' and 'fundamentalism', and what effect is it having on public consciousness? Answering these questions, Walter A. Davis taps into the cultural psyche to explore the link between ideology and emotional and psychological manipulation. Starting with the three topics that have preoccupied social discourse since 9-11 -- terror, evil and fundamentalism -- he shows that the Bush administration has been hugely successful in controlling and developing a new political climate through the creation of an almost hypnotic mass consciousness. Davis's findings take us to the heart of the ideological paralysis of the Left, while offering an innovative approach to understanding contemporary history. Davis fuses a psychoanalytic and philosophical framework to explain the relation between culture and political events, from the sado-masochist hysteria of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ' to the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison; and from the genocidal use of depleted uranium in Iraq to the apocalyptic language driving the Christian Right's assault on basic human rights. He exposes the motives and belief-systems of this new American psyche and shows how it sustains the Bush administration's agenda. Illuminating how psychological needs govern political action, Davis reveals why the relationship between politics and public consciousness has massive implications for all of us beyond America's borders.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 136 x 214 x 26mm | 439.99g
  • PLUTO PRESS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Annotated
  • 074532469X
  • 9780745324692

About Walter A. Davis

Walter A. Davis is Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at Ohio State University. He is the author of six previous books, including Inwardness and Existence: Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx and Freud (University of Wisconsin Press, 1989) and Deracination: Historicity, Hiroshima, and the Tragic Imperative (SUNY Press, 2001).show more

Review quote

It spans social and psychological dimensions with unflinching willingness to speak the truth as the author discovers it. Davis writes with fervor, vision, and keen moral appreciation of our condition. He encourages us to see what we fear to see, to say what we fear to say. This book is illuminating, challenging, fierce. -- Michael Eigen, author of The Sensitive Self, Rage, Ecstasy, Toxic Nourishment, Damaged Bonds, andThe Psychoanalytic Mystic. What strikes me about this book is the utter originality. [Davis] has developed a distinctive voice that manages to talk about the densest theoretical concepts in the most approachable language imaginable -- Todd McGowan Death's Dream Kingdom: The American Psyche Since 9/11 is an unsettling book, passionately and lovingly crafted by a superb and unique writer and thinker. Walter A. Davis skillfully uses his command of language, theater, and philosophy to dissect the type of persons that we have become in this post-9/11 nation and display for all to see the banality of evil that so marks our domestic and foreign policy. This is one of those books that - out of all proportion to its size - is packed with disturbing insights into and theories about our uniquely American character. ... Through the use of predominantly psychoanalytical tools Davis proposes a new and radical way of analyzing what ails our spirit in this failing nation state. From Shakespeare to Pinchon and from Marx to Hegel, Kant, and Lacan, he creates a whole-cloth theory of Modern America's condition using the needle and thread of Freud's psychoanalysis. From the halls of academia to the seats of government - from the altars of fundamentalist churches to the boardrooms of Amerika, Inc. - no one is spared his scathing, all-too-accurate criticism. Death's Dream Kingdom, is a much-needed diagnostic and therapeutic tool in correcting the insanity that so grips our land. -- Counterpunch The most important contribution of this wide-ranging book is its re-definition of ideology: Davis argues that ideology is not so much a matter of what you believe as why you believe it. ... [An] important book. -- Eugene Holland, Ohio State Universityshow more

Table of contents

Preface: The Way We Were PART ONE-THE BELLY OF THE BEAST 1. 911- America 2. Living in Death's Dream Kingdom: The Psychotic Core of Capitalist Ideology 3. Passion of the Christ in Abu Ghraib 4. Weapons of Mass Destruction Found in Iraq 5. A Humanistic Response to 9-11: Robert Jay Lifton, or the Nostalgia for Guarantees 6. A Postmodernist Response to 9-11: Slavoj Zizek, or the Jouissance of an Abstract Hegelian PART II: TO THE LEFT OF THE LEFT 7. Bible Says: The Psychology of Christian Fundamentalism 8. The Psychodynamics of Terror 9. Evil: As Psychological Process and as Philosophic Concept 10. Men of Good Will: Toward an Ethic of the Tragic Notes Bibliography Indexshow more

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8 ratings
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