Age of Fracture by Daniel T. Rodgers

By Daniel T. Rodgers

Within the final area of the 20th century, the guidelines that the majority american citizens lived through began to fragment. Mid-century innovations of nationwide consensus, controlled markets, gender and racial identities, citizen legal responsibility, and ancient reminiscence turned extra fluid. versatile markets disregarded Keynesian macroeconomic constructions. Racial and gender team spirit divided into a number of identities; neighborhood accountability shrank to smaller circles. during this wide-ranging narrative, Daniel Rodgers indicates how the collective reasons and meanings that had framed social debate grew to become unhinged and unsure. Age of Fracture deals a robust reinterpretation of the ways that the many years surrounding the Eighties replaced the USA. via a contagion of visions and metaphors, on either the highbrow correct and the highbrow left, previous notions of background and society that under pressure solidity, collective associations, and social situations gave strategy to a extra individualized human nature that emphasised selection, enterprise, functionality, and hope. On a large canvas that comes with Michel Foucault, Ronald Reagan, Judith Butler, Charles Murray, Jeffrey Sachs, and plenty of extra, Rodgers explains how constructions of strength got here to appear less significant than marketplace selection and fluid selves. slicing around the social and political arenas of late-twentieth-century existence and concept, from financial thought and the tradition wars to disputes over poverty, color-blindness, and sisterhood, Rodgers finds how our different types of social fact were fractured and destabilized. As we survey the highbrow wreckage of this struggle of rules, we larger comprehend the emergence of our current age of uncertainty. (20101201)

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Into the network of associations with the term “freedom,” Reagan and his speechwriters drew the language of the self-actualization psychology handbooks of the 1970s, the Jonathan Livingston Seagull phrases, the Esalen notion of freedom, the slogans of the 1960s cultural radicals. ”39 But there was nothing perilous or fragile in the new rhetoric of freedom, as there had been in Reagan’s speeches of the 1960s, when freedom had been never more than a generation away from extinction. There was no need for overcoming, no manacles to be broken, no trial to be endured, no pause in the face of higher law.

His goal was to rearrange the verbal system such that government was not the agent, embodiment, or reflection of the people. Rather, government was the people’s antagonist, the limiter of their limitlessness. The twin pillars of his domestic policy—tax cutting and corporate and environmental deregulation—flowed directly from those premises. But to devolve power to the people required that the people themselves be made visible. They needed words and representation. The terms in which Reagan referred to the people were instinctively expansive and inclusive.

He retold an American story that was already embodied in fact, and from which, as its narrator and speaking voice, he was inextricable. He claimed no special knowledge, no expertise, no special qualities of leadership beyond embodiment of the public’s common sense. ”43 This cinematic dissolve of the president into the people, this relinquishing of overt authority, goes a long way toward explaining the resilience of Reagan’s popularity. It was to become one the stories woven around Reagan that he was an extraordinarily loved president: the most popular occupant of the White House, according to some versions of the tale, since polling data began in the 1940s.

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