Fighting for the Future Academic Article uri icon

  •  
  • Overview
  •  
  • Identity
  •  
  • Additional Document Info
  •  
  • View All
  •  

abstract

  • This article compares the massive and widespread student protests in Europe and the Middle East with the relatively weak forms of protests emanating from students in the United States. Through consideration of the different formative cultures in Europe and the Middle East and the protesters’ use of the new media technologies, the article argues that the formative culture for dissent and critical education in the United States has been weakened and depoliticized, while neoliberal economic conditions and disciplinary apparatuses have amplified such conditions. Increased privatization, the closing down of critical public spheres, and the endless commodification of all aspects of social life have created a generation of students in the United States reared on the view that politics is irrelevant. In contrast, the message heard by students all over the world, especially in Europe, is that casino capitalism and totalitarian societies can no longer make a claim on the future of young people and increasingly are failing, either through making false promises or using threats and coercion to contain the hopes of young people. Rather than asking why U.S. students do not engage in massive protests, the crucial question raised by this article is when will they look beyond the norms, discourses, and rewards of the neoliberal society they have inherited from their elders?

publication date

  • August 2011