Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 22, No. 1, 2023
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Jason McDonald
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Louis René Beres
David Solway
Nick Catalano
Chris Barry
Don Dewey
Howard Richler
Jordan Adler
Andrew Hlavacek
Daniel Charchuk
  Music Editors
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Jerry Prindle
Chantal Levesque
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Contributors
  Noam Chomsky
Mark Kingwell
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
Stephen Lewis
Robert Fisk
Margaret Somerville
Mona Eltahawy
Michael Moore
Julius Grey
Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Navi Pillay
Ernesto Zedillo
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Nayan Chanda
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward




Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. He is the author of more than 50 books including The Educational Deficit and the War on Youth and Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism. Many of his essays, including The Spectacle of Illiteracy, appear on his website at His interview with Bill Moyers is must viewing. He was recently named one of the century's 50 most significant contributors to the debate on education.

Henry Giroux discuss his recent book, The Inequality of Freedom.

I think the questions of inequality and freedom are really central to many of the debates that are taking place across the world, particularly in the United States and Canada.

Freedom is a very important concept, and very problematic – it’s often defined in very limited terms.

It tends to be freedom from: freedom from government interference, freedom from anyone messing with an individual’s self-interest, freedom to do anything one wants, regardless of the consequences.

It’s freedom removed from questions of social responsibility. This type of freedom is often used in the service of right-wing movements to legitimate projects of exclusion, privilege and harm. Elizabeth Anker has called the latter the “ugly freedoms,” which are often used against movements for universal health care and policies that protect the common good, such as vaccination efforts and mask mandates.

The argument here is that you can’t just talk about freedom from, you have to talk about freedom to: the freedom to be able to establish one’s agency, to be able to flourish – and you can’t have that if you have economic, political or social inequality.

In the book, we talk about how inequality produces violence against women, violence against the environment, against people with disabilities, against minorities. It covers a range of issues, like poverty, race and racism that are often missed when talking about freedom and inequality.

The book tries to be a comprehensive analysis of the various spheres in which inequality merges with freedom in ways that reduce the possibility of agency, the possibility of having one’s full capabilities emerge, and the possibility of being able to live in anything other than the discourse of survival.

For the last 40 years, the globe in general – but particularly the United States – has lived under a neo-liberal ethos that says you only have to be concerned about yourself, that the only thing that matters is money, that inequalities are normal, and that good fortune is a matter of personal responsibility.

This creates an enormous culture of cruelty that is now used to legitimate a notion of freedom that is grounded in greed, selfishness and injustice.

We’ve lost the language of community, we’ve lost the language of justice, we’ve lost the language of compassion – and the book tries to rectify that.

Q: The contributors to this book come from five different continents. Talk to me a little about the move to make the book as far-reaching as possible in terms of where your contributors are from and the disciplines they represent.

We really believe that to be voiceless is to be powerless – people who come from different positions, different geographies and different spaces of inequality need to narrate themselves.

We wanted to include people who are smart, and who have a sense of justice. We wanted to include women, people from other countries and people from different backgrounds – inclusion is central to questions of freedom.

The book combines ethnographic studies and an enormous amount of empirical work – you can’t just toss it away and say, oh, this is just a series of opinions. It’s not – it’s a series of rigorous studies that take the question of economic inequality and freedom seriously.

Q: How is the idea of agency related to inequality?

This book is tied to questions of social and economic justice but, more importantly, it’s about agency. In this case, agency foregrounds the degree to which people have the power, skills, and critical competencies to exercise control over the varied conditions and contexts that bear down on their lives.

If people aren’t free, in terms of not being slaves to forms of poverty and economic deprivation, then every other form of freedom is meaningless – what does political freedom or individual freedom mean if you don’t have economic freedom to have agency over your own destiny? We argue in the book that political and personal rights and freedoms are important but often become dysfunctional for people who lack economic rights.

What are your hopes for this book?

We’re hoping that people will learn from it and organize around it – move from the realm of understanding to the realm of collective action.

By Henry Giroux:
The Nazification of Education
Killing Fields in Age of Mass Shootings
The Pedagogy of Resistance
The Death of Ethics
Banning Books
Homage to Paulo Freire
Plague of Manufactured Ignorance
Racial Cleansing and Erasing History
Plague of Historical Amnesia
Recovering from Trumpism
Tribute to Noam Chomsky
The Ouster of Trump
White Supremacy in the Offal Office
The Plague of Inequity
Covid and our Embattled Society
Trump and the Corona Death Waltz
Neoliberal Fascism
The Terror Unforseen
Interview of H.A.Giroux
The Normalization of Fascism
The Public Intellectual II
Bertrand Russell: Public Intellectual
Thinking Dangerously in Dark Times
Democracy in Exile
Authoritarianism in America
Violence: US Favourite Pastime
Losing in Trump's America
In Dark Times Teachers Matter
The Age of Civic Illiteracy
Exile and Disruption in the Academy
What Society Produces a Donald Trump
From School to the Prison Pipeline
Orwell & Huxely
American Sniper and Hollywood Heroism
Selfie Culture
The Age of Disposability
In the Shadow of the Atomic Bomb
Killing Machines and the Madness of the Military
The Age of Neoliberal Cruelty
The Politics of the Deep State
Challenging Casino Capitalism
Crisis in Democracy
America's Descent into Madness






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