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  • Writer's pictureArnold Schroder

#28: Group Mind pt. 6: Suburban Holy War

(04/07/2021) We continue the examination of the post-materialist shift, and the emergence of increasingly niche subcultures, that we began in The World Is a Lot Like the Internet. In this episode, we examine its implications for projects of political transformation. Relying heavily on Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, we examine how traditional organizing strategies assume a level of social cohesion that has largely vanished, based as they are on mobilizing people who are already organized into structures like community churches and labor unions--entities that have experienced decades of declining participation. We search for political projects that have taken a psychographically targeted, participatory approach--an approach characteristic of the post-materialist shift--and find only very depressing cases. Arnold, therefore, proposes a collaborative effort to take what marketers know and apply it to revolution.

Bibliography for episode 28:

Berkowitz, R. A Game Designer's Analysis of QAnon. Playing with reality. Medium September 20 2020.

Bishop, B. & Cushing, R. G. (2008) The Big Sort: How the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart. Houghton Mifflin.

Chávez, A. How QAnon Conspiracy Theories Spread in My Hometown. During the pandemic, some of the people I grew up with got sucked into QAnon and the Q-adjacent "Save the Children" movement. The Intercept September 23 2020.

Inglehart, R. (1977) The Silent Revolution: Changing Values Among Western Publics. Princeton Legacy Library.

Putnam, R. D. (2000) Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Simon and Schuster.

Smucker, J. M. (2017) Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals. AK Press.

Tiffany, K. The Women Making Conspiracy Theories Beautiful. How the domestic aesthetics of Instagram repackage QAnon for the masses. The Atlantic 18 2020.

Twenge, J. M. (2017) iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What that Means for the Rest of Us. Atria Books.

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