Henry A. Giroux ; with an afterword by Douglas Kellner
Public Spaces, Private Lives argues for a new language of engaged hope, political action, and democratic public participation. In an era when Americans regard politicians and government cynically, this book challenges the assumption that politics is dead-and shows why and how citizens must claim a revitalized role in American public and democratic institutions. Prominent cultural critic Henry Giroux describes an America today in which many citizens cannot envision an alternative to market-driven values. He explains why this is so and why so many people offer so little resistance to a concept of citizenship that does not extend beyond the lure of consumerism. As democracy is increasingly corrupted by the values of the market and an unbridled individualism, compassion and critical judgment give way to harsh, retrograde public policies like zero tolerance in schools and courts-and to media spectacles like Survivor that link masculinity to violence. These tendencies-in our media and in our society- spawn an increasingly urgent challenge of reawakening America's democratic values and revitalizing politics as a crucial form of public engagement.
Giroux finds the key to effective social change in the realms of civic education, public policy, and cultural politics. He stresses forms of schooling and public pedadogy in which critical thinking and learning take a central position in the classroom and in the public sphere. We need new and reinvigorated models of educated hope in order to re-engage active public citizenship. Giroux makes a provocative and compelling case for profound but achievable changes that will move us beyond the current impasse of democracy.