Meditations on Resistance

An Inquiry into AI, Critical Media Literacy, and Social Justice

by Tony Kashani (Author)
©2024 Textbook XII, 316 Pages
Series: Counterpoints, Volume 551


Meditations on Resistance explores various academic fields, such as education, media studies, cultural studies, law, psychology, and philosophy. Through a transdisciplinary approach, it harnesses a wide range of theories and ideas to delve into inquiries concerning the impact of Artificial Intelligence and new media within the realm of Neoliberal capitalism. The volume serves as a collective and immanent critique of Neoliberalism and significant technological corporations, while also issuing a call for action.
"This distinguished collection offers hope in a difficult time. The authors remind us of the power of resistance to the threat represented by neo-liberalism and the fascist upsurge it has provoked. The struggle continues!"
—Andrew Feenberg, Author of The Ruthless Critique of Everything Existing: Nature and Revolution in Marcuse’s Philosophy of Praxis (Verso Books)
"Meditations brings together insights as we in the United States and around the world reckon with the challenges brought on by corporate and state-driven AI and other technologies. This book provides perspectives by leading scholars discussing the material impacts of these emerging technologies and powerful visions of how we, around the planet, may find a path forward whereby technologies of all kinds may actually work for the betterment of humanity."
—Ramesh Srinivasan, Professor of Information Studies in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies Program, UCLA, and author of Beyond the Valley (MIT Press)
"This anthology provides a synoptic survey exploring the interface between the media tech industry, the culture industry, capitalism, democracy, the rise of neo- fascist populism, and efforts to increase critical media literacy in schools and other forms of media democracy. An indispensable guide for anyone perplexed by the contemporary structural transformation of the public sphere."
— David Ingram, Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University, and author of World Crisis and Underdevelopment (Cambridge University Press)

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Fascist Politics in the Age of Neoliberal Capitalism: Confronting the Domestication of the Unimaginable
  • 3. Machine Rationality and the Logic of Social Control and Domination
  • 4. Towards Definitions of Culture: Information and Community in the Age of Social Media
  • 5. Utopia-Dystopia: The Ongoing Dialectic of Technology
  • 6. Launching a Critical Media Literacy Class for High School Students: A Case Study
  • 7. Resisting Hegemonic Representations of Disability and Neuro-Normativity in Culture and Media
  • 8. Racial Narratology in Cinema: An Examination of Hollywood’s Racist Foundations and Influence on Popular Culture
  • 9. The Intersectionality of Medicine and Technology: Health Disparities, Inequities, and Inequalities Is It Man or Machine?
  • 10. Critical Media Literacy for Global Citizenship Education in Contemporary India
  • 11. Countering Right-Wing Populism with Ethical Journalism: Finland as a Model
  • 12. Online Censorship and Marginalization of Alternative News and Counterhegemonic Views: An Analysis and Resistance Strategies
  • 13. Friction, Misinformation, and Manipulation
  • 14. The Challenges of Emerging Technologies: Developing Critical Technoliteracies
  • 15. I Should Be in Charge and Not AI: Resisting the Oppressive Neoliberal Conditions of the AI Ecosystem
  • 16. Reclaiming Democratic Infrastructure from Platform Monopolies: Is Public Utility Regulation the Answer?
  • Notes on Contributors
  • List of Terms with Brief Definitions for Individual Chapters
  • Index



In the age of new media and Artificial Intelligence, where the boundaries between fact and fiction blur and the concept of truth becomes increasingly elusive, it becomes imperative to recognize the contributions of those who have helped shed light on the complex landscape we find ourselves navigating today. This book, like a compass in these uncharted territories, aims to explore the dominion of media and AI manipulations, with a primary focus on the United States while extending its gaze toward the global arena.

This book is a testament to the collaboration, dedication, and intellectual rigor of its contributors. Their collective wisdom shines a light on the challenging terrain of media and AI manipulation and offers valuable insights into how we can reclaim agency in an ever-changing world.

I express my deepest gratitude to the authors, researchers, and visionaries who have contributed their knowledge and expertise to this endeavor. Your commitment to advancing the conversation on these critical issues is invaluable.

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the individuals and groups whose support and encouragement made this book possible. Writing a book is a collaborative effort, and I am truly blessed to have had the help and guidance of so many wonderful people along the way.

First and foremost, I want to thank my family, especially my mother, Shirin, for their unwavering support and patience during the long hours and countless revisions that went into this work. I want to thank my wife, Aida Dargahi, a scholar/practitioner in her own right, for her advice and feedback. Your love and understanding have been my anchor throughout this journey.

A special acknowledgment goes to my series editor, Shirley Steinberg, whose belief in my abilities and trust in my capacity to compile this volume have been instrumental in its creation.

The staff at Peter Lang Press has been vital in bringing this book to fruition, and I am sincerely grateful for their professionalism and assistance. My Acquisitions Editor, Alison Jefferson, with her discerning eye and expert guidance, played a pivotal role in shaping this manuscript. A heartfelt thank you also goes out to her exceptional assistant, Joshua Charles, for his dedication to this project.

Additionally, I want to express my appreciation to the countless authors, researchers, and scholars whose work are drawn upon and cited in these pages. Your contributions to the field have been a source of knowledge and inspiration.

Last but not least, I extend my thanks to the readers who have taken the time to engage with this book. Your interest and support are what make the endeavor of writing so worthwhile. A special thanks goes to Dr. Maria Korpoijaako for her above and beyond help with preparing the manuscript.

With sincere gratitude,

Tony Kashani


1. Introduction

Tony Kashani

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.

Hannah Arendt (1973)

We live in the age of new media and Artificial Intelligence (AI)1 where synthetic dreams are accepted as reality and the truth is a casual concept for many people. These are peculiar times. In the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century we are witnessing an evolutionary phenomenon where high technology continues to help science, communication industry, media, finance, government, the judicial systems, and education systems improve dramatically, while at once turning the citizens of the globe into commodities to be bought and sold in the marketplace. Consumerism and Hobbesian paradigms of selfishness and Social Darwinism rule the day. We have access to an overwhelming amount of information about virtually anything we inquire into, and yet we seem to have lost the ability to concentrate, think critically, and remain free of techo-shackles of unfettered Neoliberal capitalism.2 We find ourselves in contested terrains without a moral compass. While the lives of some people on the planet have improved, this has come at the expense of so many others who are exploited, dispossessed, displaced, and destroyed. Neoliberal billionaires who own the majority shares of conglomerate corporations wield much power and are making rapid advancement toward social control on a global scale. The human induced climate change crisis is wreaking havoc on our ecosystem, but the billionaire class seems incredulous to it all.

While this anthology focuses mostly on the US conditions of media and AI manipulations, many of the arguments presented in the chapters extend to the global conditions and focus on other nations. Backed by facts and reason, the authors offer us compelling arguments about what the material conditions are and where the roots of them lie. The authors also give the reader intellectual tools to utilize for responding to these conditions toward social justice.

Who owns the media? Who owns the most dominant technology companies? Who is in charge of the culture industry? Who makes the rules? We know that media ownership consolidation poses significant dangers to democracy, diversity, and meaningful public discourses. The concentration of media and technology in the hands of a detached billionaire class threatens the truth telling, journalistic independence, fidelity to truth, data and privacy protection, autonomy to make decisions, and reduces significantly diverse perspectives that a democratic society needs. Do we have democratic governing bodies to safeguard vital aspects of democracy or are they part of the problem? Does civil society have a voice in shaping policies? To what extent can a critically media literate citizenry instigate media diversity, promote independent journalism, push to break up monopolies, and support the emergence of non-profit and community-based media and tech companies? What role do the nine largest technology companies in the world, namely Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent—the so-called Big Nine—play in the grand scheme of things (Webb, 2019)?

The authors of this collection delve into the dominance of these tech and media giants and explore the implications for society, economy, privacy, culture, and innovation. In its totality, the book examines the concentration of power, data control, market manipulation, invasion of privacy, and the challenges posed to innovation for better health, culture, equity, and egalitarianism. There is a vital need for regulatory scrutiny, safeguards for citizens’ rights and privacy, and measures to promote and develop a more diverse and inclusive technological world. Can we turn the tables on powerful corporations and their AI enabled dominating technologies?

Many people in the US and around the world are waking up to new realities and showing resiliency. We are seeing much counter-conduct (Foucault, 2003) where laborers, teachers, nurses, physicians, writers, actors, professional athletes, local officials, judges, and some members of congress are employing strategies to resist and challenge systems of power and control. Union movements are on the rise, we have had the Me Too, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights, gun control, and media literacy movements in the US. This is happening despite the heavy-handed push for control by technology, military, financial corporations, the supreme court, and governments that are bought and sold in the lobby market. There are non-violent actions and conduct that disrupt or subvert the disciplinary and manipulative mechanisms of power. We experience disciplinary action against us in K-12 schools, universities and colleges, prisons, hospitals, and government offices, to name a few. But we also experience counter conduct in those spaces too. This book is a meditation on ways of resistance that can ensure an egalitarian society not only in the US but in other places of the world. The notions of diversity, equity, inclusiveness, and empowerment cannot be attractive concepts to pay lip service to. They must materialize.


  1. 1 AI refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and understanding natural language.
  2. 2 When I refer to Neoliberal entities, I am discussing them as parts of the general paradigm of market fundamentalism. Neoliberalism is an economic and political ideology that emerged in the late 20th century. It advocates for a free market-driven approach to economic policy and emphasizes the importance of individual freedom, limited government intervention, and the promotion of private enterprise.


  • Arendt, H. (1973). The origins of totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich Press.
  • Foucault, M. (2003). The essential Foucault: Selections from the essential works of Foucault, 1954–1984, edited by Paul Rabinow and Nikolas Rose. New York: The New Press.
  • Webb, A. (2019). The big nine: How the tech titans & their tinking machines could warp humanity. New York: Public Affairs Books.


2. Fascist Politics in the Age of Neoliberal Capitalism: Confronting the Domestication of the Unimaginable

Henry A. Giroux

Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it has been faced. History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history. If we pretend otherwise, we literally are criminals.

James Baldwin

From James Baldwin's essay “As Much Truth As One Can Bear,” which is included in his book “The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948–1985, reprinted by Beacon Press, 2021.”

The long shadow of domestic fascism, defined as a project of racial and cultural cleansing, is with us once again. Americans have seen the ghosts of fascism before in acts of savage colonialism and dispossession, in an era of slavery marked by the brutality of whippings and neck irons, and in a Jim Crow age most obvious in the spectacularized horror of murderous lynchings. More recently we have viewed fascist acts of terror in a politics of disappearances and genocidal erasures under the dictatorships of Adolf Hitler, Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and others. And in each case, history has given us a glimpse of what the end of humanity would look like.1

An upgraded form of fascism with its rabid nativism and hatred of racial mixing is currently at the center of politics in the United States. Traditional liberal values of equality, social justice, dissent, and freedom are now considered a threat to a Republican Party supportive of staggering levels of inequality, white Christian nationalism, and racial purity. Yet the lessons of history with its death camps, machineries of torture, and embrace of murderous violence as a political tool are too often ignored—though its mobilizing fascist passions are once again on the horizon.2 This politics of numbness and denial is not only true of the mainstream press but also applies to many liberal and left-oriented academics.3

America’s slide into a fascist politics demands a revitalized understanding of the historical moment in which we find ourselves, along with a systemic critical analysis of the new political formations that mark this period. This is especially true as neoliberalism can no longer defend itself. The destabilizing conditions of global capitalism with its mix of savage inequalities and expanding methods of control and repression point to both a legitimation crisis and a turn towards an upgraded form of fascism. This neo-fascist resurgence is part of a counter-revolution waged against the student revolts of the 1960s, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and a range of resistance insurgencies that have gained force over the last 60 years.4

Confronting this fascist counter-revolutionary movement necessitates creating a new language and the building of a mass social movement in order to construct empowering terrains of education, politics, justice, culture, and power that challenge existing systems of white supremacy, white nationalism, manufactured ignorance, and economic oppression.

This is especially important as those marginalized by class, race, ethnicity, and religion become increasingly aware of how much they have lost control over the economic, political, pedagogical, and social conditions that bear down on their lives in the new era of fascist politics. Visions have become dystopian, devolving into a sense of being left out, abandoned, and subjected to increasing systems of terror and violence. One consequence is an instructive moment of anxiety, uncertainty and ambiguity marked by deflated values and an endless barrage of hateful rhetoric. We live in an age of fragmentation, psychic numbing, the declining of critical functions, and the loss of historical memory, all of which allow for the domestication of the unimaginable.

These issues can no longer be viewed as individual or isolated problems. They are manifestations of a broader failure of politics, if not the public imagination. Moreover, what is needed is not a series of stopgap reforms limited to particular institutions or groups but a dismantling of the capitalist order as a start toward more global acts of resistance.

Understood properly, neoliberal capitalism is a form of necropolitics, or more specifically, a type of gangster capitalism that is criminogenic. Gangster capitalism thrives on the silence of the oppressed and the complicity of those seduced by its power. It is a politics of subjugation and denial. As an educational project, it trades in moral blindness, historical amnesia, and racial and class hatred. One consequence is that as market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing, along with educated citizens, without which there is no democracy. The threat to democracy in the current historical moment is also evident in the unity of emerging disparate fascist movements in civil society—ranging from self-described neo-Nazis and Oath Keepers to Christian nationalists and Proud Boys—with the reactionary power of GOP governed states such a Florida, Texas, Idaho, Tennessee, among others.5

Authoritarian regimes trade in fear and the suppression of dissent. Fascists such as Gov. Ron DeSantis, as Judith Butler notes, “fear the power of speech, of critique, of open-ended inquiry.”6 When critical thought aligns with political power, fascists shut down the institutions and individuals that give voice to holding power accountable. How else to explain the expulsion of two Black Democratic lawmakers in the Tennessee state house for peacefully protesting in the house chamber against gun violence?

The war on democracy and children took an ugly turn in Tennessee as two Black legislators, Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, were expelled for protesting in favor of gun control laws. Their white counterpart was not expelled. The charge that the three protesting lawmakers broke decorum is ironic coming from Republican politicians who “reject life-saving controls on deadly weapons” and repeatedly pass laws that stifle debate.7 As the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times noted, “it has been Republicans, in the years of the post-Trump presidency, who are perfecting the dark art of silencing Americans. … it has sadly become the Republican norm to stifle debate. Don’t say gay, don’t say gun control, don’t say racism, don’t let kids read the “wrong” books or be read to by the “wrong” people, don’t permit children to learn about their bodies or their rights.”8 The appeal to decorum by Tennessee Republican party lawmakers is simply a cheap defense for denying fundamental liberties while legitimatizing white supremacy and fascist politics as tools of domination.


XII, 316
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2024 (May)
education media studies cultural studies psychology philosophy Artificial Intelligence Meditations on Resistance An Inquiry into AI, Critical Media Literacy, and Social Justice Tony Kashani
New York, Berlin, Bruxelles, Chennai, Lausanne, Oxford, 2024. XII, 316 pp., 1 table.

Biographical notes

Tony Kashani (Author)

Tony Kashani, Ph.D. is an American author, educator, and philosopher of technology. He teaches for the Doctoral Program in Education at Antioch University. Dr. Kashani is the author of six books in critical media and culture studies; including Hollywood’s Exploited and Movies Change Lives. His work is anchored in critical theory.


Title: Meditations on Resistance