The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties

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9780226817460: The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties
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We commonly think of the psychedelic sixties as an explosion of creative energy and freedom that arose in direct revolt against the social restraint and authoritarian hierarchy of the early Cold War years. Yet, as Fred Turner reveals in The Democratic Surround, the decades that brought us the Korean War and communist witch hunts also witnessed an extraordinary turn toward explicitly democratic, open, and inclusive ideas of communication and with them new, flexible models of social order. Surprisingly, he shows that it was this turn that brought us the revolutionary multimedia and wild-eyed individualism of the 1960s counterculture.
In this prequel to his celebrated book From Counterculture to Cyberculture, Turner rewrites the history of postwar America, showing how in the 1940s and ’50s American liberalism offered a far more radical social vision than we now remember. Turner tracks the influential mid-century entwining of Bauhaus aesthetics with American social science and psychology. From the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the New Bauhaus in Chicago and Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Turner shows how some of the most well-known artists and intellectuals of the forties developed new models of media, new theories of interpersonal and international collaboration, and new visions of an open, tolerant, and democratic self in direct contrast to the repression and conformity associated with the fascist and communist movements. He then shows how their work shaped some of the most significant media events of the Cold War, including Edward Steichen’s Family of Man exhibition, the multimedia performances of John Cage, and, ultimately, the psychedelic Be-Ins of the sixties. Turner demonstrates that by the end of the 1950s this vision of the democratic self and the media built to promote it would actually become part of the mainstream, even shaping American propaganda efforts in Europe.
Overturning common misconceptions of these transformational years, The Democratic Surround shows just how much the artistic and social radicalism of the sixties owed to the liberal ideals of Cold War America, a democratic vision that still underlies our hopes for digital media today.

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About the Author:

Fred Turner is associate professor of communication at Stanford University. He is the author of Echoes of Combat: The Vietnam War in American Memory and From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, also published by the University of Chicago Press. He lives in California. 

Review:

"a smart and fascinating new history"
- Reason Magazine

"From Bauhaus to your mouse: Fred Turner's brilliant new book on the origins and politics of interactive media....does for the 1960s avant-garde and counterculture what Turner's previous book, From Counterculture to Cyberculture did for the net culture of the 1990s and 2000s.  It locates a richer and more interesting antecedent for a moment in time that we thought we already undestood....[an] excellent and thought-provoking book."
- Tropics of Meta

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9780226325897: The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. We commonly think of the psychedelic 60s as an explosion of creative energy and freedom that arose in direct revolt against the early Cold War years. Yet, as Fred Turner reveals in The Democratic Surround, the decades that brought us the Korean War and communist witch hunts also witnessed an extraordinary turn toward explicitly democratic, open, and inclusive ideas of communication and with them new, flexible models of social order. Surprisingly, he shows that it was this turn that brought us the revolutionary multimedia and the wild-eyed individualism of the 60s counterculture. From the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the New Bauhaus in Chicago and Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Turner shows how some of the most well-known artists and intellectuals of the 40s developed new models of media, new theories of interpersonal and international collaboration, and new visions of an open, tolerant, and democratic self in direct contrast to the repression and conformity associated with the fascist and communist movements. He then shows how their work shaped some of the most significant media events of the Cold War and how by the end of the 50s this vision of the democratic self and the media built to promote it would actually become part of the mainstream, even shaping American propaganda efforts in Europe. Overturning common misconceptions of these transformational years, The Democratic Surround shows that the artistic and social radicalism of the 60s grew out of the liberal ideas of Cold War America, a democratic vision that still underlies our hopes for digital media today. Seller Inventory # AAS9780226817460

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. We commonly think of the psychedelic 60s as an explosion of creative energy and freedom that arose in direct revolt against the early Cold War years. Yet, as Fred Turner reveals in The Democratic Surround, the decades that brought us the Korean War and communist witch hunts also witnessed an extraordinary turn toward explicitly democratic, open, and inclusive ideas of communication and with them new, flexible models of social order. Surprisingly, he shows that it was this turn that brought us the revolutionary multimedia and the wild-eyed individualism of the 60s counterculture. From the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the New Bauhaus in Chicago and Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Turner shows how some of the most well-known artists and intellectuals of the 40s developed new models of media, new theories of interpersonal and international collaboration, and new visions of an open, tolerant, and democratic self in direct contrast to the repression and conformity associated with the fascist and communist movements. He then shows how their work shaped some of the most significant media events of the Cold War and how by the end of the 50s this vision of the democratic self and the media built to promote it would actually become part of the mainstream, even shaping American propaganda efforts in Europe. Overturning common misconceptions of these transformational years, The Democratic Surround shows that the artistic and social radicalism of the 60s grew out of the liberal ideas of Cold War America, a democratic vision that still underlies our hopes for digital media today. Seller Inventory # AAS9780226817460

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