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Rebelarse vende: el negocio de la contracultura

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,592 Ratings  ·  176 Reviews
«La contracultura ha sustituido casi por completo al socialismo como base del pensamiento político progresista. Pero si aceptamos que la contracultura es un mito, entonces muchísimas personas viven engañadas por el espejismo que produce, cosa que puede provocar consecuencias políticas impredecibles.»

Asegurada la polémica tanto con los partidarios de No Logo de Naomi Klein
Paperback, 1st. Edition , 380 pages
Published May 2005 by Taurus Ediciones (first published January 1st 2004)
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Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone currently or formerly involved in "counterculture" movements.
From the time I was about 15 I began wondering why the fashion styles of various counterculture movements seemed to be absorbed by the mainstream (okay, so really I was pissed that the same kid that made fun of me two years before for wearing this or that was now wearing this or that item, only now it was considered "cool"). I later came to the conclusion that most people involved in the counterculture do--the styles had been co-opted by corporate marketing schemes.

Turns out I, along with the r
Jul 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada-eh
Joseph Heath is a Canadian academic whose writing I have consistently enjoyed; Andrew Potter, who has subsequently moved to Macleans where he has a column and blogs regularly, by the requirement to churn out a steady stream of short pieces has inevitably wound up being a bit more hit-and-miss: however, IMO their partnership in jointly penning The Rebel Sell worked out splendidly, and I hope that the future might yet contain another book or two that they will approach in the same authorial manner ...more
Despite agreeing with nearly all of the main points in this book, "Rebel Sell" was a lousy read. Heath and Potter's arguments are poor and often backed up with little more than assertions, such that even when the reader can see that they are correct about something, one is annoyed by their intellectual dishonesty and flimsy rhetoric. For example, they discuss Malcolm Gladwell's analysis of the concept of “cool”, but unfortunately this theory doesn't mesh with the point they are trying to make. D ...more
Jul 23, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The authors make some very valid points and ably debunk some of the more fallacious thinking of the left, but the further we read into this book, the more uncomfortable we become. The authors have clearly abandoned their punk roots--and any credibility they may have had--by constructing numerous false arguments based on specious premises. Their logic is flawless for the most part, but errors in data will always lead to the false conclusion that society's problems are merely technical and can thu ...more
it's always fun to read something which combines pop culture and games theory logic, and this book does take both these and tries to use them as weapons against any radical or revolutionary left politics, arguing instead for something like social democracy. The authors make many good points, but they also either misunderstand or dishonestly misrepresent a lot of the cultural politics they are mocking.
Jun 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an extension of Thomas Frank's thesis in The Conquest of Cool, I think that Nation of Rebels has its merits. What I found most interesting and compelling--the incorporation of theorizing about collective action, Veblen's unfortunately neglected argument about conspicuous consumption and the like--actually seemed quite sobering upon reading the book. I knew what the authors were arguing yet their presentation of the ideas, perhaps because of their "one-sided" character (as some complainers out ...more
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awhile ago I saw a postcard on a wall at Loyola for an upcoming lecture about the evils of marketing. Someone had written on the card, "this postcard is marketing." I laughed so hard when I saw that- I've always been frustrated by people who rail against consumer culture but are obviously participating in it themselves. So when this book started out with a story about Adbusters putting out a shoe called "Blackspot" that was supposed to be an anti-brand answer to Nike, Adidas, etc., with the iron ...more

General Summary

"The Rebel Sell" is a book written by left-wing authors who are very much 'progressive change through legislation' advocates, and who are very much against the entire concept of the counterculture. The authors argue that there is no 'system' or vast international conspiracy, and the idea of counterculture is one which acts contrary to the true needs of society. In effect, they posit that counterculture rebels thwart progressive change by shifting focus in the wrong direction. Mo

The authors advocate social change through community organizing, coalitions, scientific research and legislative action. This book is not a guide, though, it is a long rambling rant against countercultural protest.

"...we argue that decades of countercultural rebellion have failed to change anything because the theory of society on which the countercultural idea rests is false...The culture cannot be jammed because there is no such thing as 'the culture' or 'the system'... countercultural rebelli
Sep 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology-1
At first, it resembled a bit 'old left' vs. 'new left' debate, but then it became clear that it was another exaggerated attack by a political philosopher who is well-informed with 'rational choice theory', but not so with cultural and social history.

It is always good to read something that challenges established anti-establishment conventions; but this book is not one of them.

Leaving aside the biggest failure, that he makes a caricature of counter-culture movements (handling of a sociological i
Apr 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very readable book that made some interesting points, but it was a bit sloppy in places.

Heath and Potter make fairly good arguments that non-conformist countercultures reinforce, rather than break down, consumer capitalism and often encourage antisocial behaviours that undermine the causes the participants seek to support.

They definitely make some mistakes, though, and contradict themselves at times. They seem to believe, for example, that the only reason anyone would buy bread that c
Nov 08, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I started taking notes on what I disagreed in this book (including WTF Paglia reference) but I realized that if I read any 2 pages I was going to have a fine argument mounted against the book.

The problem is really that the two authors are arguing a straw man. Yes culture evolves, of course it does! But really - this book seemed to be a long argument against their former punk selves/friends rather than a real nuanced dialog about where capitalism ends, and society begins. As a registered socialis
Andres Sanchez
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heath y Potter hacen un trabajo difícil, ingrato y vital. Como Toto, el perro de El mago de Oz que revela la farsa detrás del todopoderoso mago, estos filósofos canadienses se encargan de mostrar la incoherencia que subyace a muchos movimientos "progres" que, si hace veinte años fueron populares (recuerden Seattle), hoy son casi pan de cada día. Un libro que tiene su tiempo y tal vez sus ejemplos no nos sean tan relevantes, pero el mensaje central es un golpe en la cara para la corrección políti ...more
Dimitris Hall
This one is a toughy. Few other times have I been this undecided on a book before reviewing it.

While reading The Rebel Sell, I was nodding in agreement with many of the arguments Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter posed, such as the proposition that mass consumerism is unavoidable because it is recognition, distinction and status that people find when they consume, and while on the whole if theoretically no-one bought anything all would be well and good, everyone has to keep consuming just because e
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
herkesin yaptığından başka şeyler yapmak, farklı olmak için ayrıksı giysiler, tarzlar ve tatil yerlerine gitmek bir özgürlük bir isyan hissi yarattı insanlarda. bununla bir karşı-kültür yaratarak sistemin dışına çıkmaya çalıştılar. renkli ve yaratıcı oldular. sistemin dışında isyankar, coşkulu ve başka bir hayat var dediler. peki bunu kapitalizm yedi mi? yemedi, şimdiye kadar girdiği her yaşama uyum sağlamakta ya da kendine uydurmakta pek başarısız olmayan kapitalizm isyankarlar için adidas ayak ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
Sebenarnya buku ini lumayan bermasalah. Di beberapa tempat, analisisnya kurang nyaman, dan pembaca dilemparkan kepada kegilaan psikedelik antara poin-poin, gosip, rumor, dan analisis. Hendaknya pembaca berhati-hati karena tak semua poin buku ini dapat diambil langsung secara face value, misalnya penggambaran ulang konsepsi Keynesian untuk mengkritik Marx (apakah benar bahwa seluruh pendapatan dapat diterjemahkan menjadi demand? Rasanya kok meragukan.)

Positifnya buku ini adalah bahwa ia punya pot
Diah Ayu
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ah, seandainya saja aku sudah baca No Logo-nya Naomi Klein dan Belanja Sampai Mati-nya Alissa Quart sebelum baca buku ini, huhuhu. gara-gara dari dulu ditunda melulu, sekarang gak tau lagi deh gimana caranya aku bisa berhadapan dengan kedua buku itu tanpa terpengaruh sama analisisnya Joseph Heath & Andrew Potter ini, yang emang beberapa kali secara khusus menyerang Klein dan Quart. yup, spesifik dg menyebut nama dan mengutip pernyataan mereka.

daripada disebut analisis ekonomi, mungkin buku i
Travis Ammons
This book is truly an eye-opener. A perceptive work of modern day cultural criticism that rips apart the myths that dominate (with false truths you are quick to learn) much of the radical political, economical, and cultural ways of thinking.

The very idea of counterculture...the ideology of the "rebel"...the concept of the artist outside of the mainstream of the gobblydegook that the Targets and the Walmarts of the country are spitting out of their factory assembly lines...all of what these ideas
Dec 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did a project on the sociology of activism and someone recommended this to me. There's a lot of critique in here from an ex-hippie/activist type. They make great points about how paradoxically capitalism is powered by its enemy- the counterculture. Most of what came out as an alternative against the now the mainstream, from music to fashion to even the attitudes. The failure of it all is because the counter-culture has "co-opted" with consumer culture and "sold out" and the onl ...more
Mar 28, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
At 366 pages, this book is an extremely annoying whirlwind tour of popular philosophy (with a little psychoanalysis and economic theory thrown in), applied in broad strokes to the idea of "counterculture". It would be difficult for even a more compelling writer to satisfactorily explain even one of these topics at that short length. The authors' thesis is unclear, and at times their brief explanations of others' ideas are simply incorrect.

This book smacks of self-righteousness, and is just not v
Sep 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book actually provoked thoughts. I would recommended to anyone agonising about their authenticity.

"The idea of a counterculture is ultimately based on a mistake. At best, countercultural rebellion is a pseudo-rebellion: a set of dramatic gestures devoid of any progressive political or economic consequences and that detract from the urgent task of building a more just society. In other words, it is rebellion that provides entertainment for the rebels, and nothing much else. At worst, counter
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an eye-opening book about how culture is like an arms race... everyone wants to be "different" or "ahead of the game" when it comes to style, new ideas, but it always backfires because eventually the Cadillac becomes the Lexus becomes the BMW becomes the Hummer and on and on. The point of this book is to show that counterculture and consumer culture eventually become one and the same. The message I got from it was just to do, be, buy, and wear what I enjoy; also not to give a hoot about wha ...more
Anatoly v01
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Чем связаны хиппи, панки, зеленые активисты и фильм "Красота по американски"? Общей идеологией контркультуры, вот чем. Эти движения никогда не приводят к тем целям, которые заявляют, а только к очередному витку потребительской моды. На свободные рубашки, на заколки, на биологические продукты.

Автор также отвергает концепцию "злые корпорации зомбируют людей чтобы те покупали то что им не нужно, а переключается на идею конкурентного потребления людей, как способа выделиться над толпой. И это желани
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frankly speaking, this is both very interesting and very disappointing book.
After the first chapter one might think the book would be dedicated to "sell" part - to marketing of rebel spirit to the public. But really it's more a series of anecdotes about "dirty ol'hippies" and "fart-smelling liberals" (since chapters are not really connected with each other).

Falseness of this method can be seen when the author cavalierly discards spam-filters as a thing only technological libertarians would trus
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
This book was incredibly frustrating. While a discussion on the merits of what the others call "the counter culture" is worthwhile, and probably needed, this book fails in that regard. The book is poorly argued, poorly researched, and suffused with petty anger. One gets the feeling that the punk kids thought they were square in college, and they've been bitter ever since. Which is a shame, because (very) occasionally, they make a good point. I would like to see this done by someone a bit more le ...more
Mar 31, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the two authors have an interesting take on what drives American consumer culture, they make the same mistake made by the counter-culturalists they critique. Namely, they state that counter-culturalists lump all of corporate America together as one dominant unit is false, saying instead that corporations act individually in their own interest. However, the authors then go ahead and lump every counter-culturalist together, classifying them as a single entity driven by one force and one g ...more
Rik Leaf
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm an artistic activist and honestly...this book is nothing at all like I thought it would be when I picked it up.
As an active individual involved in making the world a better place, this book brought into focus my #1 frustration with being a Left Leaning Activist.
It's one of those books that when you read it you want to debate it with friends and enemies. You want to slam the author's perspective for being so damn true and f#%ing inconvenient.
This book changed the way I express my political a
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book pretty much shattered my preconceptions on a lot of topics, such as grunge music, the international travel industry, and the commercialization of anti-establishment ideals. Although not all arguments are perfect (for example, arguments against rap music basically idealize Eminem while disparaging black artists) and some chapters gloss over more complicated social systems (as is the case when they explain the property of coolness) but the general message is one that society at large nee ...more
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent examination of the crowd and counter-cultural psychology. Charles Mackay, author of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds wrote: "Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." p. 25
Ian Pollock
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The basic argument of the book is, in essence, that anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist & individualistic attitudes are a major driver of capitalism. Various "counterculture" movements in music, art, politics are almost all driven by competitive status-seeking.

It is best left to Heath to convince you of this. Valuable insight porn. Probably overstates the point somewhat.
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Joseph Heath (born 1967) is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. He also teaches at the School of Public Policy and Governance. He received his bachelor of arts from McGill University, where his teachers included Charles Taylor, and his master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees are from Northwestern University, where he studied under Thomas A. McCarthy and Jürgen Habermas. ...more
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“Decades of countercultural rebellion have failed to change anything because the theory of society on which the countercultural idea rests is false. We do not live in the Matrix, nor do we live in the spectacle. The world we live in is in fact much more prosaic. It consists of billions of human beings, each pursuing more or less plausible conceptions of the good, trying to cooperate with one another, and doing so with varying degrees of success. There is no single, overarching system that integrates it all. The culture cannot be jammed because there is no such thing as "the culture" or "the system". There is only a hodge-podge of social institutions, most tentatively thrown together, which distribute the benefits and burdens of social cooperation in ways that sometimes we recognize to be just, but that are usually manifestly inequitable. In a world of this type, countercultural rebellion is not just unhelpful, it is positively counterproductive. Not only does it distract energy and effort away from the sort of initiatives that lead to concrete improvements in people's lives, but it encourages wholesale contempt for such incremental changes.” 3 likes
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