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False Consciousness : An Essay on Mystification (Paperback) (Guenter Lewy)
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The author critically confronts those social scientists who assert that elite classes in capitalist countries use the media and the education system to manipulate the proletariat thus perpetuate their own power. He offers a balanced yet determined defense of rationality and pluralism through detailed analysis of the theory of false consciousness-a notion that people under capitalism do not know their best interests-in the writings of nineteenth century Marxism, modern communism, and the New Left.Lewy documents Soviet and Chinese brainwashing efforts to eradicate dangerous political ideas and values derived from false consciousness. He reviews recent attempts in the Federal Republic of Germany to free young people from false consciousness by means of intense political indoctrination. Finally, he marshals recent social scientific evidence to demonstrate that in the United States education and the mass media in fact often challenge traditional accepted values and the status quo.Guenter Lewy is professor of political science, University of Massachusetts-Amherst.