Living with anxiety: Race and the renarration of white identity in contemporary popular culture and public life

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this article, Cameron McCarthy takes us to the terrain of the new dynamics taking place in the U.S. racial order at the end of the century. These developments are powerfully articulated in the aggravated representation of racial identities in popular discourses. Specifically, McCarthy alerts us to the new ideological configurations in our popular culture and civic life that foreground the dangerous expansion of identity politics into the white suburbs and the triumphant prosecution of middle-class morality in the discourses of popular culture and public policy. McCarthy describes a broad pattern of racial instability, racial recoding, and racial incorporation taking place in American society as we enter the twenty-first century. Drawing on the theories of identity formation in the writings of C.L.R. James and Friedrich Nietzsche, McCarthy argues that the contemporary electronic media - particularly, film and television - play a critical role in the production, coordination, and channeling of suburban resentment and retributive morality onto their central target: the depressed inner city.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-364
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Communication Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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