Technologies of Truth: Cultural Citizenship and the Popular Media

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University of Minnesota Press, 1998 - Social Science - 304 pages
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In a world ever more complex and media-saturated, what is the value of the truth? In Technologies of Truth, Toby Miller provides a pithy and clear-sighted examination of how television, magazines, film, and museums influence the way our society conceptualizes such issues as citizenship, democracy, nationhood, globalization, truth, and fiction. Along the way, he explicates surprising connections between cultural objects and discourses, producing a new meeting ground for cultural, social, and political theory.

Miller examines a remarkable range of sources and topics, including naked footballers and the male sporting body, the cultural imperialism of television, Rodney King, the television series Mission: Impossible, Superman and Lois Lane, Harvey Milk, and Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies. The book covers a variety of genres and technologies that alter our understanding of the real versus the invented, fact versus fiction.

Central to Miller's argument is his concept of "cultural citizenship". Based in part on Michel Foucault's idea of governmentality, cultural citizenship is made up of the seemingly indirect public processes -- sports, radio, film, and arts policies -- by which members of society are drawn into postindustrial state structures. Miller also proposes a program through which intellectuals might play a more active role in studying, criticizing, and participating in the formation of governmental cultural policy, implementing his vision of what cultural citizenship should be.

In Technologies of Truth, cultural studies meet the social sciences with a unique combination of rigor and politics. In a writing style that is spicy, personal, and full of incident, Miller turnsthe ephemera of everyday life into an entertaining and necessary critique of our times.

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