Cover image for The end of politics : corporate power and the decline of the public sphere
The end of politics : corporate power and the decline of the public sphere
Boggs, Carl.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Gulford Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
x, 310 pages ; 24 cm.
Format :


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JK1764 .B64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In The End of Politics, Carl Boggs delves beneath the sound bites and news headlines to explore the ongoing process of depoliticization in the United States. This pathbreaking book provides a panoramic view of our political, economic, cultural, and technological scene. Attuned to the many contemporary trends eroding the public sphere, Boggs illuminates the American retreat to an eerily privatized landscape of shopping malls, gated communities, new-age fads, rural militias, isolated computer terminals, and postmodern intellectual discourse. Drawing lessons from such diverse phenomena as the influence of economic globalization, the spread of civic violence and gun culture, and the end of the cold war, he traces the social processes that underpin and accelerate the triumph of antipolitics. Readers learn how the effects of free-market ideology and corporate power have helped to undermine civic obligation, democratic participation, and popular decision making--at a time when mounting social and ecological crises demand far-reaching and creative political solutions.

Author Notes

Carl Boggs is the author of numerous books in the fields of contemporary social and political theory, European politics, and popular movements, including The Two Revolutions: Antonio Gramsci and the Dilemmas of Western Marxism (1984), Social Movements and Political Power (1986), Intellectuals and the Crisis of Modernity (1993), and The Socialist Tradition (1996). He has taught at UCLA, USC, and Washington University in St. Louis. For the past 12 years he has been professor of social sciences at National University in Los Angeles.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Boggs (social science, National Univ., Los Angeles) contends that America is undergoing a process of depoliticization, as indicated by declining voter turnout and an increasing public hostility toward government. At its root, he argues, is what he calls the "corporate colonization" of American politics, society, and the economy; corporate control leads to a manipulated and politically uninvolved public. To remedy this situation, Boggs argues for a revitalized public sphere that counters corporate power and empowers the public through opportunities for meaningful political participation. Unfortunately, he is extremely vague both about the changes that he wishes to see and the means needed to bring them about. Similar arguments have been advanced by other writers (e.g., E.J. Dionne Jr. in Why Americans Hate Politics, LJ 4/15/91). For the graduate political science collections of academic libraries.--Thomas H. Ferrell, Univ. of Louisiana (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Boggs (National University, Los Angeles) has written a sophisticated, dense study of the relationship between the growth of the corporate liberal state and the decline of politics, broadly conceived as the sphere in which human beings interact to establish identity, solve problems, and engage with others. He argues that the increasing power of economic entities and ideologies has created an antipolitics in American political culture. Rather than assuming that political discourse and engagement can help solve their problems as well as bestow moral rewards, Americans now retreat into nonparticipation, new age movements, and other manifestations of political disengagement. Combining insights of Marxism with communitarianism, Boggs argues that it is only through active, public, political activities and the consistent challenge of the established order that Americans and everyone else can address persistent problems such as poverty and environmental degradation. Boggs is to be commended for the passion of his argument; readers, however, should be aware that this is a theoretically rich and complex work that requires careful reading. Recommended only at the graduate level and above. A. L. Crothers; Illinois State University

Table of Contents

1 The Depoliticized Society
2 Social Crisis and Political Decay
3 Corporate Expansion and Political Decline
4 Rise and Decline of the Public Sphere
5 Antipolitics Left and Right
6 Political Power and Its Discontents
7 The Postmodern Impasse
Conclusion: A Revival of Politics?
Postscript: The Year 2000
About the Author