Particularly indicative of this tendency was the popularity among left
intellectuals of Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas?
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2000 the Democratic Party had
33 percent party identification to the Republicans’ 28 percent. That is,
more people identified as Democrats than as Republicans. In 1999, when
leaners (independents leaning one way rather than another) were in-
cluded, the Democratic advantage was 48 percent to the Republicans’ 40
percent. My point is not that Americans had left political views. Rather, it
is that leftists overstated the Republicans’ advantage as well as the conser-
vatism of the country. See ‘‘Democrats Gain Edge in Party Identification,’’
released by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, re-
leased July 16, 2004. Available at http://people-press.org (accessed July
28, 2008).
For an initial elaboration of the notion of communicative capitalism, see
my Publicity’s Secret.
An especially compelling discussion is provided in Bauman, The Individu-
alized Society.
Lenhart, Madden, Macgill, and Smith, ‘‘Teens and Social Media.’’
There are important exceptions here. One is Goodin, Reasons for Welfare.
See my discussion in Solidarity of Strangers.
In Publicity’s Secret, I emphasize, contra this notion of the victim, the
conspiracy and celebrity modes of subjectivization. The conspiracy theo-
rist and the celebrity offer ways for one to subjectivize one’s position so as
to escape the constraints of the position of the victim. We can think about
these options as criticisms in advance, as the ways the dominant culture
works to rein in political action by rendering it suspect, illegitimate, and
banal or, conversely, the ways that political resistance gets pushed/polar-
ized into paranoid or pseudo-transgressive practices.
See Wendy Brown’s analysis of the importance of ressentiment and woun-
dedness in identity politics in States of Injury.
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