Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle (City Lights Open Media)
"This is a must-read book for anyone ready to transcend fear and imagine a new reality."--Tikkun
Disposable Futures makes the case that we have not just become desensitized to violence, but rather, that we are being taught to desire it.
From movies and other commercial entertainment to "extreme" weather and acts of terror, authors Brad Evans and Henry Giroux examine how a contemporary politics of spectacle--and disposability--curates what is seen and what is not, what is represented and what is ignored, and ultimately, whose lives matter and whose do not.
Disposable Futures explores the connections between a range of contemporary phenomena: mass surveillance, the militarization of police, the impact of violence in film and video games, increasing disparities in wealth, and representations of ISIS and the ongoing terror wars. Throughout, Evans and Giroux champion the significance of public education, social movements and ideas that rebel against the status quo in order render violence intolerable.
"Disposable Futures poses, and answers, the pressing question of our times: How is it that in this post-Fascist, post-Cold War era of peace and prosperity we are saddled with more war, violence, inequality and poverty than ever? The neoliberal era, Evans and Giroux brilliantly reveal, is defined by violence, by drone strikes, 'smart' bombs, militarized police, Black lives taken, prison expansion, corporatized education, surveillance, the raw violence of racism, patriarchy, starvation and want. The authors show how the neoliberal regime normalizes violence, renders its victims disposable, commodifies the spectacle of relentless violence and sells it to us as entertainment, and tries to contain cultures of resistance. If you're not afraid of the truth in these dark times, then read this book. It is a beacon of light."--Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
"Disposable Futures confronts a key conundrum of our times: How is it that, given the capacity and abundance of resources to address the critical needs of all, so many are having their futures radically discounted while the privileged few dramatically increase their wealth and power? Brad Evans and Henry Giroux have written a trenchant analysis of the logic of late capitalism that has rendered it normal to dispose of any who do not service the powerful. A searing indictment of the socio-technics of destruction and the decisions of their deployability. Anyone concerned with trying to comprehend these driving dynamics of our time would be well served by taking up this compelling book."--David Theo Goldberg, author of The Threat of Race: Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism
"Disposable Futures is an utterly spellbinding analysis of violence in the later 20th and early 21st centuries. It strikes me as a new breed of street-smart intellectualism moving through broad ranging theoretical influences of Adorno, Arendt, Bauman, Deleuze, Foucault, Zizek, Marcuse, and Reich. I especially appreciated a number of things, including: the discussion of representation and how it functions within a broader logics of power; the descriptions and analyses of violence mediating the social field and fracturing it through paralyzing fear and anxiety; the colonization of bodies and pleasures; and the nuanced discussion of how state violence, surveillance, and disposability connect. Big ideas explained using a fresh straightforward voice."--Adrian Parr, author of The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics
Brad Evans and Henry A. Giroux are internationally renowned educators, authors, and intellectuals. Together, they curate a forum for Truthout.com that explores the theme of "Disposable Futures." Evans is director of histories of violence project at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. Giroux holds McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest, and is the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy.
alleviation of unnecessary suffering. While we have become all too familiar with the age-old discourses of war as applied to a range of issues including drugs, poverty, crime, and terror—the former two in particular being integral to the broadening and deepening of the security agenda in “human” terms—in practice, the focus on unnecessary suffering has all too easily shifted the blame onto the shoulders of the global poor. Indeed, while the expanded and seemingly ubiquitous language of warfare
results are not up to their dreams.8 Reality TV thus presented is not so much a sick distortion of reality as a compensatory fantasy (of hyper-individualized agency) that could also be viewed as a microcosm of the larger social order—hence its function as a normalizing or “disimagining” force. It is little wonder that widespread cynicism has replaced political aspiration as public life is foreclosed by the ever-encroaching domain of the private. Social ills and human suffering become more
Representations of hyper-violence and human tragedy thus merge seamlessly with modes of forgetting that mediate the aesthetics of suffering. On the one hand they structure social relations through the exposure to violence. And yet, on the other hand, they attempt to remove from sight the systemic nature of such violence by relegating it to a personal and individualized experience. This is the true mask of mastery for contemporary neoliberal regimes of power. For as the quantitative assault of
attendees: Behind our black face, behind our armed voice, behind our unnameable name, behind that, we see you . . . behind that we are the same simple ordinary men and women that repeat themselves in all races, that paint themselves in all the colors of the world. [Because in] this corner of the world we are equal because we are different. Crucially, for the Zapatistas, this prioritization of difference has led to a reconceptualization and re-articulation of the concept of the political that is
better. This alone is sufficient reason to continue to have faith in the human condition. As the Zapatistas show, those who are deemed disposable assert, time and time, again that resistance is a creative act that leads to new forms of perceiving, thinking, relating, and living. The globally dispossessed continue to challenge those who subjugate them. They face the intolerable with a dignified confidence. They continue to defy prevailing reason. And they refuse to get immobilized by the