Post-Intellectualism and the Decline of Democracy: The Failure of Reason and Responsibility in the Twentieth Century

Overview

Our society's institutional infrastructures--our democratic political system, economic structures, legal practices, and educational establishment--were all created as intellectual outgrowths of the Enlightenment. All our cultural institutions are based on the intellectual idea that an enlightened citizenry could govern its affairs with reason and responsibility. In the late 20th century, however, we are witnessing the disintegration of much of our cultural heritage. Wood argues that this is due to our evolution ...
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Overview

Our society's institutional infrastructures--our democratic political system, economic structures, legal practices, and educational establishment--were all created as intellectual outgrowths of the Enlightenment. All our cultural institutions are based on the intellectual idea that an enlightened citizenry could govern its affairs with reason and responsibility. In the late 20th century, however, we are witnessing the disintegration of much of our cultural heritage. Wood argues that this is due to our evolution into a post-intellectual society--a society characterized by a loss of critical thinking, the substitution of information for knowledge, mediated reality, increasing illiteracy, loss of privacy, specialization, psychological isolation, hyper-urbanization, moral anarchy, and political debilitation. These post-intellectual realities are all triggered by three underlying determinants: the failure of linear growth and expansion to sustain our economic system; the runaway information overload; and technological determinism. Wood presents a new and innovative social theory, challenging readers to analyze all our post-intellectual cultural malaise in terms of these three fundamental determinants.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Wood (radio-television-film, California State U.-Northridge) sees in the past few decades that people have become unable to understand their social and scientific environment, or to make selfless and long-range decisions for the good of society, and have surrendered their government to special interests and specialized technocrats. He introduces the concept of post- intellectualism and surveys some of the personal, social, and political consequences he fears. He also looks at concerns and questions on reversing the effects of the progress paradox and offers ten recommendations, most involving pressuring government for change. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275956615
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/20/1996
  • Pages: 320
  • Lexile: 1360L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

DONALD N. WOOD is Professor of Radio-Television-Film at California State University, Northridge.

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Table of Contents

Figures and Tables
Foreword
Preface
Pt. 1 Orientation: The Concept of Post-Intellectualism 1
1 Our Intellectual Foundations 3
2 Emergence of Post-Intellectualism 19
3 Four Attributes of Post-Intellectualism 35
4 Underlying Determinants of Post-Intellectualism 49
Pt. 2 Personal Consequences of Post-Intellectualism 65
5 Illiteracy: The Brave New Mega-Mediated World 67
6 The Fishbowl Society: Loss of Privacy 85
7 Cognitive Chaos: The Data Daze 99
8 Isolation and Loss of Direction: Disoriented We Despair 113
Pt. 3 Social Consequences of Post-Intellectualism 131
9 Hyper-Urbanization: Losing Our Way in the Concrete Jungle 133
10 Economic Destitution: Bankruptcy of Fiscal Theory 145
11 Environmental Decay: Damn the Resources, Full Speed Ahead! 159
12 Moral Collapse: Sex, Lies, Violence, and Videotape 173
Pt. 4 Political Consequences of Post-Intellectualism 187
13 Retribalization: Fragmenting the Global Village 189
14 Democracy and Responsibility: The Freedom Dilemma 201
15 Democratic Decline: The Dream Grows Dim 213
16 Control and Manipulation: Alternatives to Anarchy 229
Pt. 5 Prognosis: Future Directions and Considerations 241
17 Concerns and Questions 243
18 Steps Toward Solutions 255
Selected Bibliography 269
Index 285
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