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Manufacturing Uncertainty

Contemporary U.S. Public Life and the Conservative Right

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Banning Marlia

The increasing concentration of influence and affluence among the few provides the stimulus for this book, which maps how uncertainty is dispersed via the cumulative strategies of the conservative right in the United States.
Since the 1970s, the conservative right has exerted exceptional force to shape public response and governmental policy in a manner favorable to neoliberal logic and practice. The right’s strategies, termed structuring mechanisms, reliably reconfigure practical knowledge and a skein of human interactions and material conditions across discourses and institutions. This book illustrates these mechanisms through four cases: PC discourse; a cultural politic of economic resentment; and the two parallel struggles over the authority to define reality pivoting around academic freedom and global warming. Together, these mechanisms collude to reshape the boundaries of public life in the form of private interests.
Marlia Banning proposes a critical methodology that the book employs, a rhetoric of the everyday, to help citizens and critics map conservative and neoliberal efforts to reshape the contours of public life, and to reinvigorate the concept and reality of the public good. An everyday rhetoric aims to trace the amorphous and shifting processes through which hegemony is accomplished and to imagine new ways of engaging public life.
Contents: When All That Is Public Melts into Air – Consolidating Power through the Discourse of Political Correctness – The Cultural Politic of Resentment – Knowledge Production and Reduction: The Battle of Ideas and Academic Freedom – While the World Warms.