New from a Social Text Author: The Citizen Machine

The Citizen Machine: 

Governing by Television in 1950s America

by Anna McCarthy


Formed in the shadow of the early Cold War, amid the first stirrings of the civil rights movement, the idea of television as a form of unofficial government inspired corporate executives, foundation officers, and other members of the governing classes to imagine TV sponsorship as a powerful new form of influence on American democracy in the postwar years. The Citizen Machine tells the story of their efforts to shape U.S. political culture,  uncovering a dense web of fantasies and rationalizations about race, class, and economic power that have profoundly shaped not only television, but our understanding of American citizenship itself.

Published by The New Press and available here.

Listen to the complete interview with Anna McCarthy featured on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show.

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