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Michael Ralph: "The Hip Hop Generation’s Postindustrial Politics"


From Paul Beatty’s first novel Tuff to the lyrics of rappers like Nas, Mobb Deep, and Little Wayne, post-industrial pop culture makes frequent recourse to warfare as a way of indexing the anxieties that surface in urban enclaves.  Instead of categorizing these references as mere metaphor, this paper explores whether neoliberalism furnishes a military culture that permeates disparate arenas.  If this is indeed the case, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological consequences of warfare might afflict populations that inhabit domestic battle zones.  Whether and to what extent this is the case is the focus of this paper.

About the Author

Michael Ralph completed his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Chicago and taught briefly in the Cornell University Anthropology Department before joining New York University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis.  Michael has published in Public Culture, Social Text, Souls, and South Atlantic Quarterly.  He is a member of the Social Text Editorial Collective and the Souls Editorial Working Group.

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