Rethinking Global Security: Media, Popular Culture, and the "War on Terror"

By Andrew Martin; Patrice Petro | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

PATRICE PETRO AND ANDREW MARTIN

This volume brings together ten essays that address multiple constructions of global security, the “war on terror,” and subsequent notions of fear, insecurity, and danger in contemporary U.S. media and popular culture.

Why a focus on media and popular culture when thinking about global security? Such a focus might surprise scholars of international studies and international relations.1 Even the decades-old field of security studies, while recognizing the influence of technology on cultural politics and practices, has not seen the media or popular culture as central to explorations of national or global security.2 Nevertheless, the proliferation of digital technologies has transformed our experience of near and distant events, including that of war and suffering. In the twenty-first century, the politics of war, terrorism, and security can hardly be separated from the practices and processes of mediation, which continue to expand and intensify. Hence, whether their focus is television, radio, or film, the PATRIOT Act, satellite imaging, or the Internet, all the authors in this volume examine the profound impact of media and popular culture on our political, cultural, and social life. In so doing, they show how both fictional and fact-based threats to U.S. and global security have helped to create and sustain a culture of fear, with far-reaching effects.

Doug Davis's timely consideration of “strategic fictions” in U.S. policy and popular film opens this collection and frames the issues taken up in the essays that follow. Davis explains how U.S. national security analysts routinely invoke narrative fictions from the past and project them into an imaginary future to buttress current security strategies and policies. These “strategic fictions” fill our airwaves and our television, film, and computer screens. Davis contends that they likewise “represent unprecedented future

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