The Public Sphere Can Be Fun: Political Pedagogy in Neoliberal Times
Neoliberalism, the discourse on terrorism, and contemporary education policy all share a denial of politics, a redistributive economic dimension, and a tendency against democratic culture and towards fundamentalist thought. In this essay I want to weave together a series of issues: the entrenchment of neoliberalism—especially in education policy, the decline of the public sphere, the rise of fundamentalism, and the ways that these changes have led to an assault on youth culture. I will claim that a viable public sphere depends on the participation of an active and engaged youth. But rather than paint a grim picture my goal is to suggest that as dire as this current moment may seem there are signs of an invigorated public sphere in a place we might least expect it—on cable television. In my research on satire TV, and, specifically, on the satire of Stephen Colbert, I find that his comedy has played a central role in revitalizing the public sphere—especially one geared towards youth culture.1
KeywordsPublic Sphere Youth Culture Daily Show Young Audience Mainstream News
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