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Democracy in the Age of New Media

The Politics of the Spectacle

Tauel Harper

In the age of the spectacle, democracy has never looked so bleak. Our world, saturated with media and marketing, endlessly confronts us with spectacles vying for our attention: from Apple and 9/11 to Facebook and the global financial crisis. Democratic politics, by comparison, remain far from engaging. A society obsessed with spectacles results in a complete misfiring of the democratic system.
This book uses critical democratic theory to outline the effects of consumer culture on citizenship. It highlights the importance that public space plays in creating the critical culture necessary for a healthy democracy, and outlines how contemporary ‘public’ spaces – shopping centres, the Internet, social networking sites and suburban communities – contribute to this culture. Terrorism, ecological destruction and the financial crisis are also outlined as symptoms of the politics of the spectacle. The book concludes with some basic principles and novel suggestions which could be employed to avoid the pitfalls inherent in our spectacular existence.

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Index 175

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Index action coordination, 30–37, 98, 130, 132, 137 Adorno, T., 56, 86, 89, 97 advertising, 28, 38, 51–53, 56, 84, 97, 99– 100, 103, 115, 149, 155 agonism, 26, 71–86, 92, 96–97, 111, 128, 130, 133, 136, 143–145, 154; agonistic, 3, 71, 77, 94, 96–97, 113, 131, 133, 148, 152; agonistic actors, 135; agonistic deliberation, 147; agonistic democracy, 132–133; agonistic democrats, 25, 104, 117; agonistic desire, 109; agonistic drive, 78, 82–83, 86, 103–104, 143; agonistic engagement, 66, 77, 94, 109, 114; agonistic expression, 78; agonistic forum, 114; agonistic model, 54, 118; agonistic principles, 124; agonistic public realm, 11, 145; agonistic school, 3, 6; agonistic theorists, 3, 6, 25, 43, 60–61, 86, 142; and the internet, 91; of consumers, 76; of the market, 97 alienation, 2, 54–55, 58, 71, 93, 118, 126– 128, 136 American Revolution, 23, 46 Amnesty International, 117 Ancient Athens, 33 animal laborans, 16–20, 54, 59, 67, 76–77, 84, 95–96, 109, 124, 127–128, 134, 144, 152–153 Arendt, H., 3, 5–6, 8, 11–25, 29, 34, 42, 54–61, 66–68, 74–78, 82, 85, 89, 91– 99, 103–104, 110, 112, 127–139, 148– 152, 156; agonistic school, 6; ideal of agonistic politics, 11, 18; ideal public sphere, 66, 143; moments of founding, 71–72, 128, 136, 137, 156–157; narrative, 132; natality, 23, 68, 71–72, 136–137; on Eichmann, 13–15; on instrumental thought, 21; similarities with Habermas, 11,...

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