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Sweating for democracy: working-class media and the struggle for 'hegemonic Jewishness,' 1919-1941

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Title: Sweating for democracy: working-class media and the struggle for 'hegemonic Jewishness,' 1919-1941
Author(s): Dolber, Brian
Advisor(s): McChesney, Robert W.
Contributor(s): Nerone, John C.; Barrett, James R.; Stole, Inger L.
Department / Program: Communication
Discipline: Communication
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Doctoral
Subject(s): political economy counterpublics working class history Jewish labor movement Daily Forward International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) Newspaper Guild alternative media media history
Abstract: Using the framework of political economy of media, this dissertation examines the history of the Jewish working class counterpublic in the United States during the interwar period and its relationships to the broader public sphere. Between 1919 and 1941, organic intellectuals, such as B.C. Vladeck, J.B.S. Hardman, Fannia Cohn, and Morris Novik, employed strategies to maintain the Yiddish-language newspaper the Forward, worker education programs, and radio station WEVD. These forms of media and cultural production were shaped by internal conflicts and struggles within the counterpublic, as well as evolving practices and ideas around advertising, public relations, and democracy. Vladeck, Hardman, Cohn and Novik all helped to extend Yiddish socialist culture through the reactionary 1920s while laying the groundwork for an American working class culture represented by the CIO in the 1930s, and a broad consensus around a commercial media system by the postwar period. This history demonstrates the challenges, conflicts, and contradictions that emerge in media production within counterpublics, and posits that other similar case studies are necessary in order develop enlightened strategies to democratize our contemporary media system.
Issue Date: 2012-02-06
Genre: thesis
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Brian Dolber
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-02-06
Date Deposited: 2011-12

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