This Money on the Left/Superstructure episode is the tenth premium release from Scott Ferguson’s “Neoliberal Blockbuster” course. Typically reserved for Patreon subscribers, this special two-part episode about Toy Story is available to the general public in full. Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon to your favorite podcast streaming service.
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This course examines the neoliberal Blockbuster from the 1970s to the present. It focuses, in particular, on the social significance of the blockbuster’s constitutive technologies: both those made visible in narratives and the off-screen tools that drive production and reception. Linking aesthetic shifts in American moving images to broader transformations in political economy, the course traces the historical transformation of screen action from the ethereal “dream factory” of pre-1960s cinema to the impact-driven “thrill ride” of the post-1970s blockbuster. In doing so, we attend to the blockbuster’s technological forms and study how they have variously contributed to social, economic, and political transformations over the past 40 years. We critically engage blockbusters as “reflexive allegories” of their own technosocial processes and pleasures. Above all, we think through the blockbuster’s shifting relationship to monetary abstraction and the myriad additional abstractions monetary mediation entails.
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)
RoboCop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987)
Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995)
Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
The Matrix (Wachowskis, 1999)
Avengers: Infinity War (Joe & Anthony Russo, 2018)