Monoculture (Paperback)

How One Story Is Changing Everything

By F. S. Michaels

Red Clover, 9780986853807, 202pp.

Publication Date: May 31, 2011

List Price: 15.95*
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Winner of the George Orwell Award. One of The Atlantic's best books of the year.

As human beings, we've always told stories: stories about who we are, where we come from, and where we're going. Now imagine that one of those stories is taking over the others, narrowing our diversity and creating a monoculture. Because of the rise of the economic story, six areas of your world - your work, your relationships with others and the environment, your community, your physical and spiritual health, your education, and your creativity - are changing, or have already changed, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. And because how you think shapes how you act, the monoculture isn't just changing your mind - it's changing your life.

In Monoculture, F.S. Michaels draws on extensive research and makes surprising connections among disciplines to take a big-picture look at how one story is changing everything. Her research and writing have been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Killam Trusts, and regional and municipal arts councils. Michaels has an MBA and completed five years of PhD studies in Organizational Analysis. She lives in British Columbia, Canada.

1. What Is a Monoculture? - The governing pattern of a culture; the master story; past monocultures; the monoculture of the early 21st century.

2. The One Story - Your personal mythology; the larger stories of the culture; six cultural stories in society; the assumptions of the master story that shape who we are, what the world is like, and how we and the world interact.

3. Your Work - What work is like before and after the monoculture; the changing employment relationship; corporate social responsibility; contingent work; work/family balance; sustainable development; overwork.

4. Your Relationships with Others and the Natural World - Kinship before and after the monoculture; values of the community; a changing relationship to nature; changing relationships with others; mobility; social entrepreneurship; venture philanthropy; the value of the natural world.

5. Your Community - The public interest of the public sector; public service ethos; new public management; the rise of an accounting logic; public goods versus private goods; privatization of prisons; privatization of public libraries; corporatization of public spaces.

6. Your Physical and Spiritual Health - The historic human value at the center of medicine; health care as a profession; development of health care markets; rise of medical-industrial complex; conflicts of interest in medical research and medical education; historical values of Christianity; religious market theory; churches as businesses.

7. Your Education - Education as a public good; science as a calling; education as a commodity; development of education markets; rise of entrepreneurship; science as intellectual private property; threats to democracy.

8. Your Creativity - Historic idea and value of art; art as a spiritual calling; art versus commerce; corporate patronage of the arts; rise of the creative industries; culture as a means of economic development; art entrepreneurs; commerce as art.

9. The Monoculture Effect - Our life together at risk; the loss of value diversity; the decline of creativity; Vaclav Havel and the impact of ideology on our personal lives; rise of conformity; the price of nonconformity.

10. Finding Another Way - Moving past the monoculture; the inner freedom of the independent life; the growth of parallel structures; Slow Food movement; Christopher Alexander's pattern language; Marshall Rosenberg's nonviolent communication.

Epilogue - The story of what has been versus the story of what is yet to be.