Age of Fracture by Daniel T. Rodgers

By Daniel T. Rodgers

Within the final sector of the 20th century, the guidelines that the majority americans lived through began to fragment. Mid-century innovations of nationwide consensus, controlled markets, gender and racial identities, citizen legal responsibility, and old reminiscence turned extra fluid. versatile markets brushed aside Keynesian macroeconomic buildings. Racial and gender cohesion divided into a number of identities; group accountability shrank to smaller circles. during this wide-ranging narrative, Daniel Rodgers exhibits how the collective reasons and meanings that had framed social debate grew to become unhinged and unsure. Age of Fracture deals a robust reinterpretation of the ways that the a long time surrounding the Eighties replaced the USA. via a contagion of visions and metaphors, on either the highbrow correct and the highbrow left, previous notions of historical past and society that under pressure solidity, collective associations, and social situations gave option to a extra individualized human nature that emphasised selection, employer, functionality, and hope. On a vast canvas that comes with Michel Foucault, Ronald Reagan, Judith Butler, Charles Murray, Jeffrey Sachs, and plenty of extra, Rodgers explains how buildings of strength got here to appear less significant than marketplace selection and fluid selves. slicing around the social and political arenas of late-twentieth-century lifestyles and inspiration, from financial idea and the tradition wars to disputes over poverty, color-blindness, and sisterhood, Rodgers unearths how our different types of social fact were fractured and destabilized. As we survey the highbrow wreckage of this warfare of principles, we higher comprehend the emergence of our current age of uncertainty. (20101201)

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Reagan was far too little the Cold Warrior for his critics on the Committee on the Present Danger, who (even before Reagan’s friendship with Gorbachev began to ripen) had written openly of their “anguish” at his weakness and penchant for wishful thinking. For his critics on the 38 Age of Fracture left, Reagan was far too much the Cold Warrior. 53 Reagan did not lose that war. What he lost were its words and its rhetorical gestures, its collectively enacted rituals of urgency, the language of obligation and responsibility that had been its inextricable attachment.

The metamorphosis from president to tour guide proceeded without a hiccup: “Directly in front of me, the monument to a monumental man, George Washington. . ” Beyond, the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. Primed with advance copies, CBS cameramen obediently swung to the narration. Peggy Noonan’s description of the making of Reagan’s Normandy address on the fortieth anniversary of D-Day evokes the film-making imagination that flourished in the White House communications office. ”41 Even when the cameras stayed fixed on Reagan, his scripts worked on cinematic rather than sermonic principles.

Identity loomed larger than ever before: not as a collective given, now, but as a field of malleability and self-fashioning. The categories of race, class, and gender, after sweeping into academic discourse in the early 1980s, turned less distinct, disaggregated into subcategories and intersec- 40 Age of Fracture tions of categories, or slipped into quotation marks. Historians talked less of structure and more of narratives and consciousness—if not of the end of history and the disappearance of its powerful dialectical pincers altogether.

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