Publicity's Secret

Publicity's Secret : How Technoculture Capitalizes on Democracy

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In recent decades, media outlets in the United States most notably the Internet have claimed to serve the public's ever-greater thirst for information. Scandals are revealed, details are laid bare because "the public needs to know." In Publicity's Secret, Jodi Dean claims that the public's demands for information both coincide with the interests of the media industry and reinforce the cynicism promoted by contemporary technoculture. Democracy has become a spectacle, and Dean asserts that theories of the "public sphere" endanger democratic politics in the information age.Dean's argument is built around analyses of Bill Gates, Theodore Kaczynski, popular journalism, the Internet and technology, as well as the conspiracy theory subculture that has marked American history from the Declaration Independence to the political celebrity of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The author claims that the media's insistence on the public's right to know leads to the indiscriminate investigation and dissemination of secrets. Consequently, in her view, the theoretical ideal of the public sphere, in which all processes are transparent, reduces real-world politics to the drama of the secret and its discovery."show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 5.08mm | 181.44g
  • Cornell University Press
  • Ithaca, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0801486785
  • 9780801486784
  • 1,046,187

Review quote

"The World Wide Web has made those with access wary of surveillance, loss of privacy, identity theft, lurking, fraud, scams. . . . Ideology itself, in Dean's argument, has been fundamentally altered under the regime of technoculture. Communication is the new ideology; it has survived the most recent crash of Silicon Valley stock options and taken the place of production. . . . Dean speaks with an intelligent and important analytic voice about the seductions and dangers of the wired, media-drenched universe. In this universe, the rule of law has morphed into the rule of artificially manufactured public opinion, and what is not publicized does not exist." Julia Epstein, Women's Review of Books, February 2003"show more