Academic journal article Sociological Focus

Guest Editor Introduction: Iraq from the Outside

Academic journal article Sociological Focus

Guest Editor Introduction: Iraq from the Outside

Article excerpt

Welcome to my second special issue of Sociological Focus. In the November issue, I presented six articles that focused primarily on internal aspects of the Iraq war. In this, I present a group of articles that address various external aspects of the Iraq war.

In the November introduction, I reviewed some sociological aspects of the Iraq war that seemed relevant to me. I have little to add to that analysis except to note that events continue to move toward one of three strategic possibilities: the return of a Sunni authoritarian regime; the rise of an explicitly Shiite government; or some form of partition. At the same time, domestic support for continuing the U.S. military effort in its present form seems to have evaporated.

Alexander G. Nikolaev and Douglas V. Porpora conducted a content analysis of 292 editorials and op-ed pieces in four newspapers, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Wall Street Journal, and two magazines, TIME and Newsweek. Their analysis reveals that these media outlets were divided on the war and included a plethora of substantial arguments. However, they found little explicitly moral consideration of the war in the op-eds. Such consideration might have been expected in view of the characterizations by the administration of the "evils" that it faced.

Mark Hedley and Sara A. Clark analyzed an exchange of emails on a university listserv to describe the microlevel framing processes that emerged. These processes were contests among the participants to justify their frame and discredit others' frames. The authors carefully explain each frame and show how the debate moved in and between them.

Morten G. Ender, Kathleen M. Campbell, Toya J. Davis, and Patrick R. Michaelis studied the effect of "greedy media" on the wartime experience of family members of soldiers deployed to Iraq. Live television reporting from units on the battlefield led some spouses to ration their consumption of information about the war. At the same time, viewing the coverage brought extended family members into contact as they attempted to interpret what they saw on television. TV coverage also energized attempts by family members to gather information through other means. …

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