Images of American Life

A History of Ideological Management in Schools, Movies, Radio, and Television

By Joel Spring

Series: SUNY series, Education and Culture: Critical Factors in the Formation of Character and Community in American Life
Paperback : 9780791410707, 320 pages, July 1992
Hardcover : 9780791410691, 320 pages, July 1992


This book analyzes the effect of political and economic forces on the ideas and values disseminated to the general public by schools, movies, radio, and television. The author shows how similar and conflicting political and economic pressures influence education, movies, and broadcasting. The book provides an understanding of how ideas are shaped in American society by the interplay between government power, private enterprise, and organized advocacy groups.

The story is complex with many different and conflicting strands. In a broad sense, it is the story of the public education of the American people. The book does not attempt to measure the actual effect of various media, but it does show what was intended for the education of the public mind by forces that shaped and continue to shape the content of schools, movies, and broadcasting.

Joel Spring is Professor of Education at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury. He is the author of Education and the Rise of the Corporate State; A Primer of Libertarian Education; The Sorting Machine: National Education Policy Since 1945; Educating the Worker-Citizen; and Conflict of Interests: The Politics of American Education.


"Spring broadens the discussion of what constitutes public education and depicts the very significant continuity in struggles for control across the range of mainstream educational and entertainment media. He succeeds in making a rich texture of historial material readily accessible and engaging.

"I think that this book has a clear role to play in opening the field of educational studies to phenomena beyond schooling. It should provoke a number of important questions about the impact of the various efforts described, as well as further discussion of the very idea of ideological management as a focal point of inquiry in the politics of education broadly conceived.

"The work is useful as both a comprehensive historical study and as a compendium of information supporting research across the range of relevant fields. "— Paul Farber, Western Michigan University