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Aliens in America: conspiracy cultures from outerspace to cyberspace

Dean, Jodi

ISBN 10: 0801484685 / ISBN 13: 9780801484681
Gebraucht / Soft cover / Anzahl: 1
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Titel: Aliens in America: conspiracy cultures from ...

Einband: Soft cover

Beschreibung:

Ithaca, NY. Cornell University Press, 1998. Paperback. 256 pp. In a provocative analysis of public culture and popular concerns, Jodi Dean examines how serious UFO-logists and their pop-culture counterparts tap into fears, phobias, and conspiracy theories with a deep past and a vivid present in American society. Aliens, the author shows, provide cultural icons through which to access the new conditions of democratic politics at the millennium. Because of the technological complexity of our age, political choices and decisions have become virtually meaningless, practically impossible. How do we judge what is real, believable, trustworthy, or authoritative? When the truth is out there, but we can trust no one, Dean argues, paranoia is indeed the most sensible response. Aliens have invaded the United States. No longer confined to science fiction and tabloids, aliens appear in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, at candy counters (in chocolate-covered flying saucers and Martian melon-flavored lollipops), and on Internet web sites. Aliens are at the center of a faculty battle at Harvard. They have been used to market AT&T cellular phones, Milky Way candy bars, Kodak film, Diet Coke, Stove-Top Stuffing, skateboard accessories, and abduction insurance. A Gallup poll reports that 27 percent of Americans believe space aliens have visited Earth. A Time/CNN poll finds 80 percent of its respondents believe the U.S. government is covering up knowledge of the existence of aliens. What does the widespread American belief in extraterrestrials say about the public sphere? How common are our assumptions about what is real? Is there any such thing as "common" sense? Aliens, the author shows, provide cultural icons through which to access the new conditions of democratic politics at the millennium. Because of the technological complexity of our age, political choices and decisions Condition : as new. ISBN 9780801484681[KEYWORDS: CULTURAL STUDIES. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 23183

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Inhaltsangabe: In a provocative analysis of public culture and popular concerns, Jodi Dean examines how serious UFO-logists and their pop-culture counterparts tap into fears, phobias, and conspiracy theories with a deep past and a vivid present in American society. Aliens, the author shows, provide cultural icons through which to access the new conditions of democratic politics at the millennium. Because of the technological complexity of our age, political choices and decisions have become virtually meaningless, practically impossible. How do we judge what is real, believable, trustworthy, or authoritative? When the truth is out there, but we can trust no one, Dean argues, paranoia is indeed the most sensible response. Aliens have invaded the United States. No longer confined to science fiction and tabloids, aliens appear in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, at candy counters (in chocolate-covered flying saucers and Martian melon-flavored lollipops), and on Internet web sites. Aliens are at the center of a faculty battle at Harvard. They have been used to market AT&T cellular phones, Milky Way candy bars, Kodak film, Diet Coke, Stove-Top Stuffing, skateboard accessories, and abduction insurance. A Gallup poll reports that 27 percent of Americans believe space aliens have visited Earth. A Time/CNN poll finds 80 percent of its respondents believe the U.S. government is covering up knowledge of the existence of aliens. What does the widespread American belief in extraterrestrials say about the public sphere? How common are our assumptions about what is real? Is there any such thing as "common" sense? Aliens, the author shows, provide cultural icons through which to access the new conditions of democratic politics at the millennium. Because of the technological complexity of our age, political choices and decisions have become virtually meaningless, practically impossible. How do we judge what is real, believable, trustworthy, or authoritative? When the truth is out there, but we can trust no one, Dean argues, paranoia is indeed the most sensible response.

Rezension: Is paranoia the defining feature of American life at the close of the 20th century? Jodi Dean thinks so, and she doesn't think we should be too worried about it. Aliens in America is her attempt to map the role of conspiracy theories in society, and although the book sometimes has problems negotiating the fine line between academic and popular discourse, it provides some fascinating insights. Dean suggests that paranoia is the only possible response to a fragmented culture. Multiplying TV channels and the publishing free-for-all of the Internet provide so many points of view, so many opportunities for contradictory meanings to coexist that "there isn't enough common reality to justify judgement." In the face of this info-maelstrom, conspiracy theorists and alien abductees are actively creating their own meanings, piecing together an ideology from the mass of unverifiable "facts." For Dean, these creative acts are powerful, positive engagements with the world as it has become, contrasting sharply with the attitudes of those who are trying to hang on to a vanished consensus. By bringing the apparatus of cultural theory to bear on this subject, Dean gives a provocative new interpretation of our premillennium tension. --Simon Leake

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