Rebel Sell
Why the Culture Can't be Jammed

Heath, Joseph; Potter, Adnrew
Year Published:  2004
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX8233

Released in the U.S. under the title Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture, the book is a critique of the underlying theory of counterculture Heath and Potter note that the capitalist system thrives not on conformity -- as so many 'culture jammers' believe -- but rather on individualism and a quest for distinction.

The authors criticize culture jamming (a form of activism and a resistance movement to the perceived hegemony of popular culture, based on the ideas of "guerrilla communication" and the "detournement" of popular icons and ideas) as not only ineffective, but encouraging the very consumerism it seeks to quell.
They argue that most of society's problems (and rules) are traceable to collective action problems, not traits inherent in cultures as most culture jammers believe, a mistake which leads them to attempt to disrupt the existing social order with very few results. It also allows people to wrongly claim a political element to their lifestyle preferences, or glorify criminality as a form of dissent. The authors also point to the counterculture's tendency to reject so-called 'institutional' solutions, a mistake which merely invites the problem to remain.

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