Kenneth Burke’s Counter-Spectacle and the Problem of Unity in Political Culture
- УДК / UDK: 82(091)
- About the author:
James P. Zappen (PhD, Professor, Department of Communication and Media, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, USA)
- Abstract: The spectacle was prominent in public displays and mass meetings in midtwentieth-century Russia and Germany as a quest for unity in political culture. In Russia, it was countered by Mikhail M. Bakhtin’s novelistic dialogue, polyphony, heteroglossia, and carnival. In Germany, it appeared in its most grotesque form in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which proclaims Hitler’s quest for German national unity and celebrates his National Socialist mass meetings, which created the appearance of a false unity imposed by force of arms. In the United States, Hitler’s spectacle was critiqued in Kenneth Burke’s review of Mein Kampf and continually challenged throughout his life’s work. Burke’s review critiques Hitler’s strategy of attempting to unite Germany by dividing it from those who opposed him, in particular non-German ethnic groups. Burke was engaged in sociopolitical issues throughout his lifetime, and his work offers theories and principles aimed at diversity in unity in political culture and offered as a counterforce to Hitler’s spectacle of a false unity—a counter-spectacle in the form of identification, dramatism, dialectical and aesthetic transcendence, and a satiric mock portrait of a false unity.
- Keywords: Kenneth Burke, Mikhail M. Bakhtin, Guy Debord, Adolf Hitler, Spectacle, Counter-Spectacle, Political Culture, Identification, Dramatism, Dialectical Transcendence.
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