New Media, Cultural Studies, and Critical Theory after Postmodernism: Automodernity from Žižek to Laclau (Education, Psychoanalysis, Social Transformation)
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This book argues that we have moved into a new cultural period, automodernity, which represents a social, psychological, and technological reaction to postmodernity. In fact, by showing how individual autonomy is now being generated through technological and cultural automation, Samuels posits that we must rethink modernity and postmodernity.
Part of this rethinking entails stressing how the progressive political aspects of postmodernism need to be separated from the aesthetic consumption of differences in automoderntiy. Choosing culturally relevant studies of The Matrix, Grand Theft Auto, Eminem and Jurassic Park, he interprets these medias through the lens of eminent theorists like Slavoj Zizek, Frederic Jameson, and Henry Jenkins. Ultimately, he argues that what defines postmodernity is the stress on social construction, secular humanism, and progressive social movements that challenge the universality and neutrality of modern reason.
can be seen in the goal of administrators and faculty members to retain a high level of nontenured faculty simply because these teachers can be let go with ease. During bargaining with UC administrators, we have tried to counter this irrational desire for unneeded control by showing them that they still have a high level of flexibility within the budget, but for some people, the desire for flexibility is in reality a desire for total freedom and absolute control. The only thing that we can do in
in higher education is how to assess effective instruction. Unfortunately, most institutions rely on student evaluation as the main criteria when they assess the quality of nontenure faculty, and one of the central problems with this overreliance on student evaluations is that they not only place the role of academic judgment in the hands of inexperienced students, but they also tend to undermine the entire foundation of effective teaching.42 For instance, studies have shown that the surest way
the twin engines of autonomy and automation. In this context, subjective freedom is tied to the mechanical reproduction of a set system of technological functions. For instance, one of the central uses for the PC is the employment of various word and image processing programs. These technologies center AUTOMODERNITY 17 on the preprogramming of “universal” templates and systems of scientific order; thus, programs like spell-checker function by automating tasks that individuals traditionally
what direct democracy really looks like, or are these uses of personal opinions just a lure to make people feel like they have some control over situations where they really have very little power? This question of false autonomy in highly automated systems can be understood through the example of the elevator button, which is supposed to control the 22 NEW MEDIA, CULTURAL STUDIES, AND CRITICAL THEORY closing of the door, but in reality usually is not attached to any real function. When
universities. In fact, when McLaren does raise the problem of the conflict between the rhetoric of radical pedagogy and the reality of pedagogical institutions, he only articulates this issue in order to dismiss it as being unwarranted: Critical theorists are accused of assuming an untenable political position that enables them to wear the mantle of the revolutionary without having to get their hands dirty in the day-to-day struggles of rank-and-file teachers—especially those who occupy the front