Unfinished Business: Michael Jackson, Detroit, and the Figural Economy of American Deindustrialization

ISBN : 9780199348596

Judith Hamera
304 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Dec 2017
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How does structural economic change look and feel? How are such changes normalized? How are these trends represented in movement, in performance, and in culture? Looking at Detroit's postindustrial revitalization, The Heidelberg Project, and Michael Jackson's many performances, Unfinished Business argues that U.S. deindustrialization cannot be separated from issues of race, specifically from choreographed movements of African Americans that represent or resist normative or aberrant relationships to work and capital in transitional times. Presenting Jackson and Detroit as material entities with specific histories and as representations with uncanny persistence, the book divulges invaluable lessons on three decades of structural economic transition in the U.S., particularly on the changing nature of work and capitalism between the mid-1980s and 2016. Jackson and Detroit offer examples of the racialization of these economic changes, how they operate as structures of feeling and representations as well as shifts in the dominant mode of production, and how industrialization's successor mode, financialization, uses imagery both very similar to and very different from its predecessor.


Introduction: Never Can Say Goodbye: U.S. Deindustrialization as Unfinished Business

Part I: Michael Jackson's Spectacular Deindustriality
Chapter One The Labors of Michael Jackson: Transitional Deindustriality, Dance, and Virtuous(o) Work
Chapter Two Consuming Passions, Wasted Efforts: Michael Jackson's Financial(-ized) Melodramas

Part II: Detroit's Deindustrial Homeplaces
Chapter Three Combustible Hopes on the National State: Figuring Race, Work, and Home in not necessarily) Detroit
Chapter Four Up From the Ashes: Art in Detroit's Emerging Phoenix Narrative
Coda Still Unfinished . . . .


About the author: 

Judith Hamera is Professor of Dance in the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University and author of Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference and Connection in the Global City (2007).

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