Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Technologies of Truth

Cultural Citizenship and the Popular Media

1997
Author:

Toby Miller

Technologies of Truth

Offers an original and refreshing discussion of the media’s effect on everyday culture.

In a world ever more complex and media-saturated, what is the value of the truth? Here, Toby Miller provides a pithy and clear-sighted examination of how television, magazines, film, and museums influence the way our society conceptualizes such issues as citizenship, democracy, nationhood, globalization, truth, and fiction. Along the way, he explicates surprising connections between cultural objects and discourses, producing a new meeting ground for cultural, social, and political theory.

Technologies of Truth is a vital contribution to the development of cultural studies. It shows the quality of scholarship, the depth of understanding of the research archive, and the intellectual reach, which signal the revitalization of cultural studies for a new generation of writers.

John Hartley, University of Wales, Cardiff

In a world ever more complex and media-saturated, what is the value of the truth? In Technologies of Truth, Toby Miller provides a pithy and clear-sighted examination of how television, magazines, film, and museums influence the way our society conceptualizes such issues as citizenship, democracy, nationhood, globalization, truth, and fiction. Along the way, he explicates surprising connections between cultural objects and discourses, producing a new meeting ground for cultural, social, and political theory.

Miller examines a remarkable range of sources and topics, including naked footballers and the male sporting body, the cultural imperialism of television, Rodney King, the television series Mission: Impossible, Superman and Lois Lane, Harvey Milk, and Frederick Wiseman’s Titicut Follies. The book covers a variety of genres and technologies that alter our understanding of the real versus the invented, fact versus fiction.

Central to Miller’s argument is his concept of “cultural citizenship.” Based in part on Michel Foucault’s idea of governmentality, cultural citizenship is made up of the seemingly indirect public processes-sports, radio, film, and arts policies-by which members of society are drawn into postindustrial state structures. Miller also proposes a program through which intellectuals might play a more active role in studying, criticizing, and participating in the formation of governmental cultural policy, implementing his vision of what cultural citizenship should be.

In Technologies of Truth, cultural studies meets the social sciences with a unique combination of rigor and politics. In a writing style that is spicy, personal, and full of incident, Miller turns the ephemera of everyday life into an entertaining and necessary critique of our times.

Technologies of Truth

Toby Miller is associate professor in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University and author of The Well-Tempered Self: Citizenship, Culture, and the Postmodern Subject (1993), Contemporary Australian Television (with Stuart Cunningham, 1994), and The Avengers (1997). He also is editor of the Journal of Sport and Social Issues and coeditor of Social Text.

Technologies of Truth

Technologies of Truth is a vital contribution to the development of cultural studies. It shows the quality of scholarship, the depth of understanding of the research archive, and the intellectual reach, which signal the revitalization of cultural studies for a new generation of writers.

John Hartley, University of Wales, Cardiff

I appreciated and enjoyed the thoughtful and well-written discussion of Titicut Follies.

Frederick Wiseman, Zipporah Films

A unique examination of how cultural criticism can contribute to cultural policy. Challenging the logic of technocrats, Miller opens up new connections among cultural institutions, media texts, nationalism, and citizenship.

Lynn Spigel, University of Southern California

Technologies of Truth

Contents

Acknowledgments

PART I: SUMMATIONS

Introduction: Daguerrotropes and Such

1. Sister Morpheme (Clark Kent—Superman’s Boyfriend)
2. Leavis to Beaver: Culture with Power, Culture as Policy

PART II: APPLICATIONS

3. A Short History of the Penis: ET’s Rendezvous at HQ
4. How Do You Turn Indooroopilly into Africa? Mission: Impossible, Second World Television, and the New International Division of Cultural Labor
5. The Truth Is a Murky Path: Technologies of Citizenship and the Visible
6. Historical Citizenship and the Fremantle Prison Follies: Frederick Wiseman Comes to Western Australia

Conclusion: I Am the Morning DJ on WONK
Bibliography
Index