The Private Death of Public Discourse

The Private Death of Public Discourse

by Barry Sanders
     
 

Few people these days would deny that the times have turned nasty. Users get flamed on the internet, drivers get shot on the freeways, politicians get shouted down in Congress, women get accosted at health clinics....The Private Death of Public Olscourse traces the way meaning has succumbed to meanness in this country, and why. Barry Sanders claims that the…  See more details below

Overview

Few people these days would deny that the times have turned nasty. Users get flamed on the internet, drivers get shot on the freeways, politicians get shouted down in Congress, women get accosted at health clinics....The Private Death of Public Olscourse traces the way meaning has succumbed to meanness in this country, and why. Barry Sanders claims that the contemporary erosion of our interior space - where the reflective life occurs - accounts for the decline of private ideas and decent public discourse. He begins with the historical construction of the modern private self and shows how the opening of the interior of the human body in the seventeenth century created a new frontier for physicians and social scientists, just as America was establishing the rights of the individual. Sanders's grasp of American intellectual history allows us to see the New Critics as silencers: Huck Finn as a character who "does not know how to handle liberation"; and the Free Speech movement launched at Sproul Hall in 1968 as - for a moment - a whole new way to think about common ground. Today, Sanders argues, the greatest threat to inner space comes from the electronic media, and only through a return to true literacy can people talk themselves back into community.

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Editorial Reviews

Robley Wilson
A polemic and cautionary defense of literacy....Readers may decide to trash their computers and televisions for the sake of regaining the freedom to be human. -- Robley Wilson, The North American Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807004340
Publisher:
Beacon
Publication date:
01/08/1998
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 9.31(h) x 0.95(d)

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