This video is an interesting interview where Alissa Quart talks about why and how she wrote: The Republic of Outsiders – The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers, and Rebels, published in 2013.
The questions from the audience fades towards the end of the video, but Quart gives introductions to most of the questions. At the end the movie Margaret (2011) by Kenneth Lonergan is mentioned.
From the presentation of the book on the author’s website.
We have long received our information, therapy, films, and even vegetables from authoritative sources: from insiders, trained or ordained to dispense this knowledge or cultural products. Most of the rebels in this book are changing that equation.
Republic of Outsiders is the story of the growing number of Americans who disrupt the status quo. It’s about the outsiders who, freed of middlemen and armed with new technology, are able to make their unusual ideas go viral. They include everyone from amateur filmmakers who crowdsource their work to transgender and neurodiverse activists and “alternative” bankers. These outsiders create and package new identities in a process acclaimed author Alissa Quart dubs “identity innovation.” They push the boundaries of who they–and we–can be and what we can do.
… Republic of Outsiders is a critical examination of how to make rebellion or amateurism a strength rather than a weakness.
Well, it must be a good thing to make the outsider a rightful citizen of our society – or? We do of course not criticize Quart for what is a systemic fault of our culture, but a tiny question will give a lot more understanding.
The tiny question is: how can there be outsiders in a culture that is said to be a democracy? Of course there cannot be outsiders in a real democracy. A real democracy cannot be governed by rules or regulations that specify what is so called normal, which as a result also define what is not normal and therefore wrong according to a ruling élite.
Our problem of today is that the hidden and fundamental relations that control our lives still are considered to be a taboo – questions and relations that cannot exist – and therefore impossible to talk or write openly about in the media. The media, as well, is controlled by the political élite and sets the mark on what is real and what is not.
Now, you will realize why Quart, in the video, cannot answer the questions that are too close to the taboos that protect the false democracy that is built on the ideals that there must be people who are inside and outside of society.
And once more. We do not criticize Quart in any way. Her work is important and becomes even more essential when a lot of people are able to find out that she pinpoints the wall, the wall that you are trained to not even be able to observe. In brief Quart makes a jubilant act to balance on the top of the wall.
Presentation of Republic of Outsiders by the publisher The New Press.
Review of Republic of Outsiders by Annalee Newitz, The New York Times, Nov 8, 2013.
Comments by readers on goodreads, Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers and Rebels by Alissa Quart.