Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean was recently honored as a guest lecturer at the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. On March 24, Dean delivered the 28th annual J. Jeffery Auer Lecture, with a talk titled, “Communicative Capitalism: This is what democracy looks like.”
Drawing from her recent books on “Blog Theory” and “Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies,” as well as a course she is currently teaching on new media, Dean considered the power of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook in her lecture.
Dean questioned the effects of these networks: Are they powerful forces for egalitarian people’s struggles? Or are they distractions that ultimately undermine collective power? Perhaps most importantly, the talk highlighted Dean’s theory of communicative capitalism, which posits that new media realize democracy and in doing so, allow us to see the restrictions of democracy for radical politics.
The J. Jeffery Auer Lecture is held in honor of Auer, the former head of the Speech and Theatre Department at Indiana University. Auer continued to lecture after his retirement, speaking on topics related to public communication. Established in 1983, the annual lecture seeks to bring in leading scholars in political communication.
Dean has been with the Colleges since 1993. She received a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is a past recipient of the faculty award for scholarship. Dean is also the author of a wide-ranging body of work including “Aliens in America: Conspiracy Cultures from Outerspace to Cyberspace” and “Publicity’s Secret: How Technoculture Capitalizes on Democracy.”