Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy

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New Press, 2007 - Political Science - 230 pages
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From an acclaimed, original observer of media and culture: how we can draw upon popular fantasies to create an alternative politics through imagination and spectaclea twenty- first-century manifesto for the left.

"The problem comes down to reality. Progressives believe in it, Bush's people believe in creating it. The ideological inheritors of the May '68 protest slogan "Take your desires for reality" are now counseling its reversal: take reality for your desires. Conservatives are the ones proclaiming "I have a dream.""from the introduction

What practical political lessons can we learn from corporate theme parks, ad campaigns, video games like Grand Theft Auto, celebrity culture, and Las Vegas? Stephen Duncombe proposes that such examples of popular fantasy can help us define and make possible a new political future.

Dream makes the case for a progressive political strategy that embraces a new set of tools. Although fantasy and spectacle have become the lingua franca of our time, Duncombe points out that liberals continue to depend upon sober reason to guide them. Instead, they need to learn how to communicate in today's spectacular vernacularnot merely as a tactic but as a new way of thinking about and acting out politics. Learning from Las Vegas, however, does not mean adopting its values, as Duncombe demonstrates in laying out plans for what he calls "ethical spectacle."

An electrifying new vision of progressive politics by a lifelong political activist and thinker, Dream is a twenty-first-century manifesto for the left, reclaiming the tools of hidden persuaders in the name of spectacular change.

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Spectacular Vernacular
Grand Theft Desire
Advertising Utopia

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About the author (2007)

Stephen Duncombe teaches the history and politics of media and culture at the Gallatin School of New York University, where he is an associate professor.

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