Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers and Rebels [NOOK Book]

Overview


Republic of Outsiders is about the growing number of Americans who disrupt the status quo: outsiders who seek to redefine a wide variety of fields, from film and mental health to diplomacy and music, from how we see gender to what we eat. They include professional and amateur filmmakers crowd-sourcing their work, transgender and autistic activists, and Occupy Wall Street?s ?alternative bankers.? These people create and package new identities in a practice cultural critic Alissa Quart dubs ?identity innovation?: ...
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Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers and Rebels

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Overview


Republic of Outsiders is about the growing number of Americans who disrupt the status quo: outsiders who seek to redefine a wide variety of fields, from film and mental health to diplomacy and music, from how we see gender to what we eat. They include professional and amateur filmmakers crowd-sourcing their work, transgender and autistic activists, and Occupy Wall Street’s “alternative bankers.” These people create and package new identities in a practice cultural critic Alissa Quart dubs “identity innovation”: they push the boundaries of who they can be and what they can do, even turning the forces of co-optation to their benefit.

In a brilliant and far-reaching account, Quart introduces us to individuals who have created new structures to keep themselves sane, fulfilled, and, on occasion, paid. This deeply reported book shows how and why these groups now gather, organize, and create new communities and economies. Without a middleman, freed of established media, and highly mobile, unusual ideas and cultures are able to spread more quickly and find audiences and allies.Republic of Outsiders is a critical examination of those for whom being rebellious, marginal, or amateur is a source of strength rather than weakness.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Annalee Newitz
…a hopeful…portrait of a mainstream culture that's constantly being rewritten by the people at its margins. Quart's gift as a writer is her ability to report on the experiences of ordinary people, following their realistically messy lives for years, offering us vivid portraits that are profoundly humane…Many of us are used to thinking about outsider status in the context of artistic or political subcultures, and that's what makes Quart's reporting on what she calls "outsider mentality" such a brilliant move. She unmasks the assumptions we make about what counts as normal, and marshals our sympathies for people who want to control their own destinies in a world that insists that they can't. Along the way, she makes a persuasive case that medical and scientific institutions must change if we're to move mainstream culture in the right direction.
Publishers Weekly
Veteran journalist Quart (Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child) focuses on individuals who “have created unusual, idiosyncratic identities” to tackle underrepresented issues and accomplish diverse goals. A perceptive, analytical reporter, Quart profiles a wide range of subjects: transgender activists, who “refuse the neat boxes of gender identity”; the “neurodiverse,” who try to redefine how people think about autism and normality in general; independent filmmakers and musicians, who eliminate middlemen by making and distributing their work themselves; animal-rights futurists who are attempting to create a “meat” product from animal cells in a process that harms no animals; “mad priders” and “Icarists,” who emphasize community and peer service over clinical treatment of the mentally ill; and a former Wall Street trader who is trying to create nonpredatory financial networks for the needy. Quart’s profiles are thoroughly researched and admirably evenhanded. She investigates the vast range of subcultures linked and enabled by the Web, showing that the line between insiders and outsiders is rather fluid when we live in a “clever capitalist society that shapes our attempts to resist.” Railing against modern institutions, from too-big-to-fail banks to the superficial, profit-driven entertainment industry, she effectively examines how outsider thinking can supplement, and in some cases supplant, mainstream methods. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

A Publishers Weekly Best New Book for the Week of August 5, 2013

"It's difficult to pinpoint the historical moment when the strange becomes everyday. But in this book, Quart gives us a few glimpses of what those transitional moments might look like in her intimate portraits of people who live somewhere between the edge and the center of dominant culture."
The New York Times Book Review

"Alissa Quart's Republic of Outsiders should be considered a snapshot of American life at this point."
The Columbus Dispatch

"Quart astutely identifies a cultural phenomenon that includes everyone from songwriter Jill Sobule to antiestablishment schizophrenics, and her careful reporting and vividly rendered characters make the book a vital, engaging read."
Psychology Today

"Can you live the dream by working outside of the mainstream? Quart explores how today's social rebels can and are making their dreams come true, while still making it on their terms."
Flavorwire

"An in-depth look at nonconformists flourishing in American society."
Shelf Awareness

"Even if you don’t consider yourself an outsider or a rebel, Quart's book has several lessons for creative work, particularly when it comes to making art outside a heavily commercial system."
Fast Company

"We have met the revolution, and it is us. . . . a groundbreaking study of the increasing influence of cultural outsiders."
The Philadelphia Inquirer

"And that, in the end, is our highest calling–to become ‘more wholly ourselves.’ Reading this book is a strengthening exercise toward that goal."
Feministing

"Alissa Quart has given us a rare and fascinating glimpse into America's diverse and burgeoning creative subcultures. If there’s a Republic of Outsiders, I want to apply for citizenship!”
—Barbara Ehrenreich

"Alissa Quart is one of the smartest cultural interpreters of her generation. In Republic of Outsiders, she mixes sharp-eyed analysis with an empathetic heart. The result is a great read, and a brand-new lens through which to view outsiders, insiders—and ourselves."
—Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

"As a determined 'outsider' myself, I feel both exposed and vindicated by Alissa Quart. This is an essential account of how and why fringe activism has become central to our culture and politics in a digital age."
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock and Life Inc.

"A perceptive, analytical reporter. . . . Quart's profiles are thoroughly researched and admirably evenhanded. . . . . She effectively examines how outsider thinking can supplement, and in some cases supplant, mainstream methods."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A thought-provoking examination of counterculture through the eyes of those living life just outside the conventional box."
Kirkus

"The author strays far from the expected, including the producers of the indie-film triumph Beasts of the Southern Wild and Kickstarter phenom musician Amanda Palmer. Readers will be surprised to see thoughtful inclusions of the 'neurodiverse' (individuals diagnosed within the autism spectrum) and those defying standard classifications of serious mental illness and challenging our understanding of schizophrenia and bipolarity. . . . Lots of good food for thought and solid inspiration for those who feel stifled by traditional choices."
Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
The ways in which a cross-section of intrepid renegades finds contentment and success by swimming upstream. Journalist Quart (Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child, 2006) highlights a host of individuals she views as part of a continuing, modern rebellion movement that's incrementally restructuring the country from the inside out. They are the social outsiders who've created an "America within America." The author deftly examines how these cultural oddities and outcasts bond through their separate differences yet remain determined to find common ground, whether through agricultural breakthroughs, mental deficiencies or the distillation of their creative preferences. The examples she presents are as diverse as the message of superfunctional nonconformity they are intent on disbursing to society at large. Quart describes time spent with a group of "Mad Priders" who dismiss the conventional clinical process for diagnosing and treating the mentally ill; a female-to-male transgendered activist; an autistic woman fighting to redefine how mainstream society views the "neurodiverse" community; substantive, un-Hollywood film collectives broadening the independent genre; and enterprising agricultural and animal rights innovators developing "faux meat." Quart's associations enhance and illuminate the plight of the free-thinker; even within the brevity of a paragraph, the author generously commemorates even more outliers: the right-to-lifers, married gay couples, DIY birthers, gun stockpilers and the "freegans" who dumpster-dive for meals. Quart asserts that while "their trust in authority faltered and they fell back on their own intelligence to survive," the spectrum of these individuals' reach in society is just beginning to manifest itself. A thought-provoking examination of counterculture through the eyes of those living life just outside the conventional box.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595588944
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 8/6/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • File size: 446 KB

Meet the Author


Alissa Quart is the author of Branded and Hothouse Kids. She has written for the New York Times, The Atlantic, and many other publications. She is an editor-at-large for The Atavist and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Journalism School. She lives in New York.
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