A New Kind of Public: Community, Solidarity, and Political Economy in New Deal Cinema, 1935-1948

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  • Prix régulier $42.00
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    Graham Cassano

    Publisher: Haymarket Books

    Year: 2016

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 215 pages

    ISBN: 9781608464937

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This engaging and original work argues that modern Hollywood was forged in the fires of class struggle and economic inequality

In 1936, director John Ford claimed to be making movies for “a new kind of public” that wanted more honest pictures. In this insightful and stimulating book Cassano argues that this new kind of public was forged in the fires of class struggle and economic calamity. Those struggles appeared in Hollywood productions, as the movies themselves tried to explain the causes and consequence of the Great Depression. Using the tools of critical Marxism and cultural theory, Cassano surveys Hollywood’s political economic explanations and finds a field of symbolic struggle in which radical visions of solidarity and conflict competed with the dominant class ideology for the loyalty of this new audience.

What People Are Saying

"Cassano develops original insights into New Deal cinema -and also into cultural artifacts in general - by applying to them creative interpretations of C. Wright Mills and a self-critical Marxism. As he opens up the complexities of artifact, audience, and their overdetermined and contradictory relationship, a powerful and critical cultural analysis emerges, one with wide implications for understanding social structures and changes." —Richard D. Wolff University of Massachusetts, Amherst (retired), author of Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism

"This sophisticated and powerful work shows how stars, directors, studios, writers, and censors responded to the new possibilities of entertaining an audience formed by the labor upsurges of the mid-1930s. In his constant identification of telling detail, his sweeping ability to see the workings of class without losing sight of the impact of race and gender, and his deft use of theory, Cassano more excitingly approximates the wonderful work of the late Michael Rogin than does any other contemporary writer." —David Roediger University of Kansas, and author of Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Freedom for All

About the Author

Graham Cassano is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Oakland University, in Rochester Michigan and an associate editor of Critical Sociology. He publishes on social theory and the relationship of New Deal cinema to class formation in the US.

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