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Counter-Narrative: How Progressive Academics Can Challenge Extremists and Promote Social Justice

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1598745634
ISBN-10: 1598745638
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Editorial Reviews


"Counter-Narrative is the book the critical, social justice interpretive community has been waiting for.  It is  impassioned. It is  incisive.  It cuts to the bone. It challenges the extremists -- the birthers, the tea-party activists -- those who would derail the progressive agenda. It offers a core narrative for the common good; a narrative that makes a difference, opens paths for critique, clears a space for resistance, nurtures the utopian imagination.  A critical narrative inquiry that matters."

- Norman K. Denzin, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

"In this thought-provoking book, Goodall shows how language and rhetoric have been used to fuel a conservative, libertarian, and right-wing ideological narrative about the world in which we live and the threats to U.S. society. More important than his careful analysis of the structure of the narrative and how it has been put together is his call to respond--to cut through the Right-Wing fog by constructing counter-narratives that are based on critical thinking, clearly phrased arguments, and relevant empirical evidence. The time to do this is now."

- Thomas C. Patterson, University of California, Riverside

"A rhetorical tour de force that offers academics and the public alike a persuasive counterstatement against far right political views, and, even more important, a compelling core narrative and viable strategies for intervening into societal discourse to reclaim the original intention of U.S. democracy—to promote the common good."

- Lawrence R. Frey, University of Colorado at Boulder

About the Author

The late H. L. (Bud) Goodall, Jr. was Professor of Communication and Director of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. He was the author or co-author of 20 books, including A Need to Know: The Clandestine History of a CIA Family (Left Coast Press, Inc., 2006), and over 100 articles, chapters, and papers. A Need to Know received the 2006 Best Book Award from the National Communication Association’s Ethnography Division. A pioneer in the field of creative nonfiction, Goodall covered a range of topics including high-technology organizations and cultures, rock ‘n’ roll bands, and alternative religions. He co-wrote the award-winning textbook Organizational Communication: Balancing Creativity and Constraint (with Eric Eisenberg and Angela Trethewey) and also authored the highly acclaimed Writing the New Ethnography in 2000. With Steve Corman and Angela Trethewey, he co-edited a volume entitled Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Strategic Communication and the Struggle Against Violent Extremists.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Left Coast Press (October 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598745638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598745634
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,100,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Herrmann on March 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
H. L "Bud" Goodall starts out with this truth: We on the left suck at narratives.

We do - at least compared to the right - be that right the economic libertarians, the religious conservatives, the neo-cons, or the conspiracy theorists like the Birthers. Slowly but surely those on the right have spun their tales so well, that what they say is too often taken for granted, as given, as the way things are and the way things ought to be. All these `givens' aren't givens at all. They are stories told over and over and over until we believe them to be true. For instance:

"Free markets should be unfettered!" (Hello financial crisis.)
"Democrats are weak on defense!" (Goodbye Osama Bin Laden!)
"Jesus was not interested in justice!" (Hello? Have you read the New Testament?)
"Obama is a Kenyan born Muslim!" (Hello long-form birth certificate!)
"Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot!" (Yes, ridicule is helpful but not constructive in the long term.)

Sure, we have facts on our side.
Yes, the deficit was caused by the Bush tax cuts and the wars.
Yes, Jesus was interested in justice.
Yes, the founding fathers were human with human foibles.
Yes, Teabaggers gave themselves that name without knowing what "Teabagging" is.

Here's the thing: facts only matter if they are embedded in a good story. To quote Reagan's 1988 slip up: "Facts are stupid things." Narratives drive information, not the other way around.

Have you ever wondered how Al Queda can recruit people into killing themselves? Have you ever wondered why Glenn Beck's conspiracies were accepted by so many? Have you ever wondered why the Birther issue will not die? Have you ever wondered why people who say they follow Jesus only follow the free-market Jesus?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By way finder on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
Excellent book. One dominant narrative is that the 30-year trend in America of greater inequality is a natural economic/historical trend of economic rewards for those with educational achievements and workplace skills. One counter-narrative offered by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson is that income distribution hasn't followed a pattern of "the 29% of Americans with college degrees pulling away" from those who have less education. It's the top 1% that have pulled away from the top 20%, and most especially "the top 0.1% or even 0.01%" that has grown richer than the rest of the population.

We need better narratives than what neo-cons and the top 0.1% are dishing out with their media outlets and the politicians they own, be better at articulating these narratives, getting these narratives out to more people.
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