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Rebel Sell Hardcover – Sep 2 2004

3.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harpercollinscanadaltd; 1 edition (Sept. 2 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002007908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002007900
  • Parcel Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #514,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Amazon

If we all hate consumerism, why can't we stop shopping? This is one of the curious ironies that Canadian philosophers Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter ponder in their provocative book about the counterculture and progressive politics. In The Rebel Sell, they take issue with the misconceptions of the anti-globalization movement and others who purport to resist a corporate-dominated world, like No Logo author Naomi Klein. Heath, a philosopher at the University of Toronto, and Potter, a researcher at the University of Montreal, bemoan the fact that the "counterculture" has replaced socialism as the basis of radical political thought since the '60s. They suggest that anti-globalization activists and writers like Klein claim to oppose consumerism and corporate malfeasance while offering solutions that merely reinforce capitalism.

Heath and Potter take the reader on an absorbing tour of Western thought and the philosophical origins of the countercultural movement in the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud. The authors suggest that these three figures gave rise to the notion that society dupes people into conformity and the belief that, as in the The Matrix movies, we have only to free our minds to start a revolution. Heath and Potter say this non-conformist ideal--which is the basis of today's countercultural movement--is actually at the heart of modern consumerism, too. Capitalism sells people "cool" stuff like SUVs and hip clothes as a way for us to stand out and be different from the crowd. In this way, the counterculture, which advocates such consumeristic "rebellion" as the key to revolution, merely helps capitalism renew itself. At times, The Rebel Sell engages in petty personal attacks against Klein and other anti-corporate activists and, in some cases, misrepresents their viewpoints, but the book is still fascinating, well-argued, and an important contribution to progressive thought. --Alex Roslin

About the Author

JOSEPH HEATH is Associate Professor of Philosophy at theUniversity of Toronto. He is the author of two books: The Efficient Society—anational bestseller and a Globe and Mail Best Book of 2001—and CommunicativeAction and Rational Choice. He lives in Toronto.


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