The global icon is an omnipresent but poorly understood element of mass culture.
This book asks why audiences around the world have embraced particular iconic figures, how perceptions of these figures have changed, and what this tells us about transnational relations since the Cold War era.
Prestholdt addresses these questions by examining one type of icon: the anti-establishment figure.
As symbols that represent sentiments, ideals, or something else recognizable to a wide audience, icons of dissent have been integrated into diverse political and consumer cultures, and global audiences have reinterpreted them over time. To illustrate these points the book examines four of the most evocative and controversial figures of the past fifty years: Che Guevara, Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur, and Osama bin Laden.
Each has embodied a convergence of dissent, cultural politics, and consumerism, yet popular perceptions of each reveal the dissonance between shared, global references and locally contingent interpretations.
By examining four very different figures, 'Icons of Dissent' offers new insights into global symbolic idioms, the mutability of common references, and the commodification of political sentiment in the contemporary world.