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The Incomplete Projects: Marxism, Modernity, and the Politics of Culture

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

No society is without crime, prompting Nathaniel Hawthorne’s narrator to make his famous statement in The Scarlet Letter that, however high its hopes are, no civilization can fail to allot a portion of its soil as the site of a prison. Crime has also been a prevailing, common theme in films that call us to consider its construction: How do we determine what is lawful and what is criminal? And how, in turn, does this often hypocritical distinction determine society?

Film, argues Carl Freedman, is an especially fruitful medium for considering questions like these. With Versions of Hollywood Crime Cinema, he offers a series of critical readings spanning several genres. From among the mob movies, Freedman focuses on Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy—arguably the foremost work of crime cinema—crafting a convincing argument that the plot’s action is principally driven by the shift from Sicily to America, which marks the shift to a capitalist society. Turning his attention to other genres, Freedman also looks at film noir and Westerns, in addition to films for which crime is significant but not central, from horror movies like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining to science fiction and social realist films like The Grapes of Wrath. In recent years, television has welcomed innovative works like Boardwalk Empire, The Wire, and The Sopranos, and Freedman discusses how television’s increasingly congenial creative environment has allowed it to turn out productions whose ability to engage with these larger social questions rivals that of films from the height of cinema’s Golden Age.

Synopsis:

The Incomplete Projects reevaluates the role of Marxist theory in the study of culture and makes a case for Marxist cultural analysis as a relevant political practice. Part I provides the reader with a comprehensive and lively overview of Marxist thought. Part II is a collection of case studies analyzing a wide range of cultural objects, from the novels of Philip K. Dick to the television series M*A*S*H. The objects of study are either American or British in origin, reflecting the dominance of Anglo-American culture in our new global economy; they are also what Freedman describes as 'middle culture, ' falling somewhere between the bifurcated categories of high and low art. Through these case studies, Carl Freedman shows that it is impossible to make sense of capitalism without the Marxist critique and demonstrates that cultural analysis is an especially appropriate form of discourse in which to begin thinking politically. This book is particularly timely and relevant to anyone interested in the study of culture.

Synopsis:

A concise, lively account of Marxist thought and American culture.

About the Author

Carl Freedman is the James F. Cassidy Professor of English at Louisiana State University. He is the author of many articles and several books, including The Age of Nixon, Incomplete Projects: Marxism, Modernity, and the Politics of Culture, and Critical Theory and Science Fiction.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Section 1: Gangsterism and Capitalism: The Mob Movie and After

The supplement of Coppola:  Primitive accumulation and the Godfather trilogy

Hobbes after Marx, Scorsese after Coppola: On Goodfellas

Tony Soprano and the end(s) of the mob movie

Section 2: Noir and its Disconnects

Marxism, cinema, and some dialectics of film noir and science fiction

Noir, neo-noir, and the end of work: From Double Indemnity to Body Heat

Section 3: Empire and Gender in the John Wayne Western

Versions of the American imperium in three westerns by John Ford

Post-heterosexuality: John Wayne and the construction of American masculinity

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780819565556
Subtitle:
Studies in Ford, Wilder, Coppola, Scorsese, and Others
Author:
Freedman, Carl Howard
Author:
Freedman, Carl
Publisher:
Intellect Ltd
Location:
Middletown, Conn.
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
Marxist criticism
Subject:
Socialism and culture.
Subject:
Popular Culture - General
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Subject:
Film - General
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
20130715
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
184
Dimensions:
9 x 7 x 0.5 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Leftist Studies
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

The Incomplete Projects: Marxism, Modernity, and the Politics of Culture New Trade Paper
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Product details 184 pages Wesleyan University Press - English 9780819565556 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The Incomplete Projects reevaluates the role of Marxist theory in the study of culture and makes a case for Marxist cultural analysis as a relevant political practice. Part I provides the reader with a comprehensive and lively overview of Marxist thought. Part II is a collection of case studies analyzing a wide range of cultural objects, from the novels of Philip K. Dick to the television series M*A*S*H. The objects of study are either American or British in origin, reflecting the dominance of Anglo-American culture in our new global economy; they are also what Freedman describes as 'middle culture, ' falling somewhere between the bifurcated categories of high and low art. Through these case studies, Carl Freedman shows that it is impossible to make sense of capitalism without the Marxist critique and demonstrates that cultural analysis is an especially appropriate form of discourse in which to begin thinking politically. This book is particularly timely and relevant to anyone interested in the study of culture.
"Synopsis" by , A concise, lively account of Marxist thought and American culture.
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