Technology, reason and globalisation?-0 brother!

Tony Schirato, Jenn Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Coen Brothers' movie 0 Brother Where Art Thou is a ragbag of intertexts and gags that also pays very serious attention to questions of community and culture, class and race. In tracing the path of the protagonists through Depression-era Mississippi, it takes its audiences through the experience of social transformation, from superstition and local concerns to a supposedly brave new (global and technological) world. Although the film is set in a distant time and place, it is informed by a very contemporary issue-the politics of technology, and its relation to the forces of globalisation. It is also a film that exemplifies what Certeau describes as the "cleavage which organizes modernity", a cleavage designated by the terms "science" (which is predicated on a law of rationality, and an imperative to explain, control and order) and "culture". We analyse the work of the film by drawing on the writings of Manuel Castells, Arjun Appadurai and Armand Mattelart to trace its explication of the questions of progress and communication in a world increasingly dominated by neo-liberal values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-287
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Semiotics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2004


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