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Public Spaces, Private Lives

Democracy Beyond 9/11

Henry A. Giroux

While many of the essays in this book were written before 9/11, they point to a number of important issues such as the commercialization of public life, the stepped up militarization, racial profiling, and the threat to basic civil liberties that have been resurrected since the terrorist attacks. Public Spaces, Private Lives serves to legitimate the claim that there is much in America that has not changed since 9/11. Rather than a dramatic change, what we are witnessing is an intensification and acceleration of the contradictions that threatened American democracy before the tragic events of 9/11. Hence, Public Spaces, Private Lives offers a context for both understanding and critically engaging the combined threats posed by the increase in domestic militarization and a neoliberal ideology that substitutes market values for those democratic values that are crucial to rethinking what a vibrant democracy would look like in the aftermath of September 11th. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 224Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7425-2526-9 • Paperback • December 2002 • $24.95 • (£15.95)
Henry A. Giroux is Waterbury Chair of Education at Pennsylvania State University and author of numerous books and articles on society, education, and political culture, including most recently, The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence and Channel Surfing.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Cultural Studies and the Culture of Politics
Chapter 3 Youth, Domestic Militarization, and the Politics of Zero Tolerance
Chapter 4 Private Satisfactions and Public Disorders
Chapter 5 Pedagogy of the Depressed
Chapter 6 "Something's Missing"
Chapter 7 Afterword
A brilliantly developed study of the loss of public opportunities and civic solidarity, and their replacement by a market-driven ethos that commodifies our longings and exalts the selfish and encapsulated will of isolated individuals. Public Spaces, Private Lives is Henry Giroux's most fascinating work to date—and, the most profoundly energizing. Giroux repeatedly has brought his formidable intellect to bear on issues that immediately matter to ordinary men and women. He enters the moral battles of our era in the cultural locations—film, the press, TV—in which they actually are waged. This is why Giroux has come to be a public force of critical importance—an importance certain to be magnified by this deliciously irreverent and iconoclastic work. A brave book by a brilliant man with a big heart and a shrewd eye for the cruelties and contradictions of our paradoxical society.
Jonathan Kozol, Acclaimed American Author Of Death At An Early Age

Henry Giroux's Public Spaces, Private Lives is both a continuation and a significant contribution to his work of recent years, in which he addresses the criminalization of youth, the role of education in civic participation, and the possibilities of radical democracy from a broad-ranging critical pedagogy and cultural perspective. This collection of essays is especially relevant - even critically important - after 9/11: Giroux begins with the claim that cynicism has been and continues to be a driving force in American political culture, a force that understands both critique and social-political action as futile. He argues for a new or resurrected 'language of resistance and possibility' that will culminate in what he calls 'educated hope,' a kind of utopianism based on a practical social vision.
College Literature

Public Spaces, Private Lives appears at a time of seismic reversals that are occurring in the public sphere. While written before September 11th, the book has far more significance since that event. This book marks a new phase in Giroux's intellectual trajectory.
Teachers College Record