Dreamworld and Catastrophe
The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West
By (author) Susan Buck-Morss
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Dreamworld and Catastrophe by Susan Buck-Morss
Book DescriptionThe dream of the twentieth century was the construction of mass utopia. As the century closes, this dream is being left behind; the belief that industrial modernization can bring about the good society by overcoming material scarcity for all has been challenged by the disintegration of European socialism, capitalist restructuring, and ecological constraints. The larger social vision has given way to private dreams of material happiness and to political cynicism.Developing the notion of dreamworld as both a poetic description of a collective mental state and an analytical concept, Susan Buck-Morss attempts to come to terms with mass dreamworlds at the moment of their passing. She shows how dreamworlds became dangerous when their energy was used by the structures of power as an instrument of force against the masses. Stressing the similarities between the East and West and using the end of the Cold War as her point of departure, she examines both extremes of mass utopia, dreamworld and catastrophe.The book is in four parts. "Dreamworlds of Democracy" asks whether collective sovereignty can ever be democratic. "Dreamworlds of History" calls for a rethinking of revolution by political and artistic avant-gardes. "Dreamworlds of Mass Culture" explores the affinities between mass culture's socialist and capitalist forms. An "Afterward" places the book in the historical context of the author's collaboration with a group of Moscow philosophers and artists over the past two tumultuous decades. The book is an experiment in visual culture, using images as philosophy, presenting, literally, a way of seeing the past. Its pictorial narratives rescue historical data that with the end of the Cold War are threatened with oblivion and challenge common conceptions of what this century was all about.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780262523318
(229mm x 178mm x 19mm)
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Mar-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Susan Buck-Morss
Museological Unconscious, Paperback (March 2012)
The history of contemporary art in Russia, from socialist realism to the post-Soviet alternative art scene.
Thinking Past Terror, Paperback (August 2006)
Argues that the global public needs to think past the twin insanities of terrorism and counter-terrorism in order to dismantle regressive intellectual barriers. Surveying the literature on the relationship of Islam to modernity, this work reveals that there is surprising overlap where scholars commonly see antithesis.
Dialectics of Seeing, Paperback (September 1991)View all books by Susan Buck-Morss
In The Dialectics of Seeing, Susan Buck-Morss offers an inventive reconstruction of the Passagen Werk, or Arcades Project, as it might have taken form.
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Author Biography - Susan Buck-Morss
Susan Buck-Morss is Professor of Political Philosophy and Social Theory, Department of Government, and Professor of Visual Culture, Department of Art History, Cornell University.
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