Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle (City Lights Open Media)

Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle (City Lights Open Media)

Brad Evans

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 0872866580

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"This is a must-read book for anyone ready to transcend fear and imagine a new reality."--Tikkun

Disposable Futures makes the case that we have not just become desensitized to violence, but rather, that we are being taught to desire it.

From movies and other commercial entertainment to "extreme" weather and acts of terror, authors Brad Evans and Henry Giroux examine how a contemporary politics of spectacle--and disposability--curates what is seen and what is not, what is represented and what is ignored, and ultimately, whose lives matter and whose do not.

Disposable Futures explores the connections between a range of contemporary phenomena: mass surveillance, the militarization of police, the impact of violence in film and video games, increasing disparities in wealth, and representations of ISIS and the ongoing terror wars. Throughout, Evans and Giroux champion the significance of public education, social movements and ideas that rebel against the status quo in order render violence intolerable.

"Disposable Futures poses, and answers, the pressing question of our times: How is it that in this post-Fascist, post-Cold War era of peace and prosperity we are saddled with more war, violence, inequality and poverty than ever? The neoliberal era, Evans and Giroux brilliantly reveal, is defined by violence, by drone strikes, 'smart' bombs, militarized police, Black lives taken, prison expansion, corporatized education, surveillance, the raw violence of racism, patriarchy, starvation and want. The authors show how the neoliberal regime normalizes violence, renders its victims disposable, commodifies the spectacle of relentless violence and sells it to us as entertainment, and tries to contain cultures of resistance. If you're not afraid of the truth in these dark times, then read this book. It is a beacon of light."--Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

"Disposable Futures confronts a key conundrum of our times: How is it that, given the capacity and abundance of resources to address the critical needs of all, so many are having their futures radically discounted while the privileged few dramatically increase their wealth and power? Brad Evans and Henry Giroux have written a trenchant analysis of the logic of late capitalism that has rendered it normal to dispose of any who do not service the powerful. A searing indictment of the socio-technics of destruction and the decisions of their deployability. Anyone concerned with trying to comprehend these driving dynamics of our time would be well served by taking up this compelling book."--David Theo Goldberg, author of The Threat of Race: Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism

"Disposable Futures is an utterly spellbinding analysis of violence in the later 20th and early 21st centuries. It strikes me as a new breed of street-smart intellectualism moving through broad ranging theoretical influences of Adorno, Arendt, Bauman, Deleuze, Foucault, Zizek, Marcuse, and Reich. I especially appreciated a number of things, including: the discussion of representation and how it functions within a broader logics of power; the descriptions and analyses of violence mediating the social field and fracturing it through paralyzing fear and anxiety; the colonization of bodies and pleasures; and the nuanced discussion of how state violence, surveillance, and disposability connect. Big ideas explained using a fresh straightforward voice."--Adrian Parr, author of The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics

Brad Evans and Henry A. Giroux are internationally renowned educators, authors, and intellectuals. Together, they curate a forum for Truthout.com that explores the theme of "Disposable Futures." Evans is director of histories of violence project at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. Giroux holds McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest, and is the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy.

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2004). 4. Foucault, Society Must Be Defended, p. 247; Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1 (New York: Vintage, 1990), p. 138. 5. Judith Butler, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? (London, Verso: 2009), pp. 3, 4. 6. Ibid., p.4. 7. Rancière, Emancipated Spectator, p. 96. 8. For an example of utterly uncritical reporting on this type of over-the-top celebration of violence and the armed forces, see John Anderson, “On Active Duty for the Movies (Real Ammo),” New York Times

suffering in the twenty-first century would be recast by the very regimes that claimed to defeat ideological fascism. We are not in any way suggesting a uniform history here. The spectacle of violence is neither a universal nor a transcendental force haunting social relations. It emerges in different forms under distinct social formations, and signals in different ways how cultural politics works necessarily as a pedagogical force. The spectacle of violence takes on a kind of doubling, both in

act of violence and violation,” the public eagerly sacrifices any sense of ethical responsibility in order to experience sensations of pleasure from images of human suffering.45 How else to explain the insistent demand by many that the U.S. government should have released the grisly yet openly celebrated images of Osama Bin Laden’s corpse, even though the fact of his assassination was never in doubt? How might we understand the growing support, among the American populace in particular, for

from behind the ramparts of privacy, to put them on public display and make them everybody’s shared property and a property everybody wishes to share.12 Everything that moves is monitored, and information is endlessly amassed and stored by both private and government agencies. No one, it seems, can escape the tentacles of the NSA or the spy agencies that are scouring mobile phone apps for personal data and intercepting computer and cell phone shipments in order to plant tracking devices and

demonstrate has woken up beneath his scalpel. In short, I don’t claim to kill others with my writing. I only write on the basis of the other’s already present death.” Neoliberalism is intolerable. But in political terms, we can start to think about its already present death. What is more, we can take heart from the fact that people will always resist what they find patently intolerable. Despite the horrors, they will find reasons to believe in this world and that it can be transformed for the

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