Constructing America's War Culture: Iraq, Media, and Images at Home

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In 1927, political scientist Harold Lasswell wrote about the strategies employed by the American government to sell the benefits of participating in World War I to a reluctant public. In Propaganda Techniques in World War I, Lasswell discussed the 'manipulative symbols to manipulate opinions and attitudes' (p 9). Ever since then, all wars have involved specialists who attempt to control the way the media report about war and the way media contribute to shaping public opinion. This collection of essays discusses how media have 'packaged' the war in Iraq. The chapters in this collection explore the way the media have presented the war to us by telling us human interest stories, supporting public policies, and crafting a narrative that supports the war. Some chapters focus on the way the Bush administration has actively promoted and attempted to control information; others tell of how the media have either been complicit in supporting the dominant narrative, or how the public has used the images in the media to negotiate attitudes toward the war, terrorism, and international relations. All of the chapters discuss the relationships among conflict, political agendas, the power of media, and the way audiences use media to construct attitudes, beliefs, and—ultimately—a sense of history about the war. Coming from the perspective of communication studies, Constructing America's War Culture situates the multi-dimensional aspects of war, terrorism, public policy, media, and story-telling within the context of creating a consensually assembled image of what the war in Iraq is all about. This book will be of interest to undergraduate students as well as scholars of communication, history, sociology, political science, and American studies, and it will be an excellent resource both for classroom use as well as the general public.

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Editorial Reviews

November 2008 H-War
Constructing America's War Culture offers several interesting observations and insights.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739119631
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Pages: 180
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Conroy is professor in the Communication Department at Castleton State College, Vermont. Jarice Hanson is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and currently holds the Verizon Chair in Telecommunications at Temple University in Philadelphia.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Introduction Part 3 Part One: Constructions of War Chapter 4 Chapter 1. Freedom of Expression and Voices of War: Blogging as an Alternative to Mainstream Media Chapter 5 Chapter 2. What Happened to Journalism? Chapter 6 Chapter 3. Selling the Bush Doctrine: Persuasion, Propaganda, Public Relations and the Patriot Act Part 7 Part Two: Iraq, Media, and Images at Home Chapter 8 Chapter 4. The Packaging of Jessica Lynch Chapter 9 Chapter 5. Staying in the Moment: Hollywood, History, and the Politics of 9/11 Chapter 10 Chapter 6. War As Mediated Narrative: The Sextet of War Rhetoric Chapter 11 Chapter 7. Images of America at War on the Internet Newsgroup: soc.culture.europe Chapter 12 Chapter 8. The War Doesn't End Until the Last Soldier Dies: Transmedial Narratives of War

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  • Posted January 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Selling War

    I recommend this book not only for students of Communication ( a must read for them) but also for the general reader. The eight authors, each a specialist in his or her field, paint a grim, detailed and insightful analysis of the many ways in which the media have literally worked in concert with the government in creating a culture of war. There is no paranoia here, only the documented details of the creation of an American culture "accustomed to the possibility of war." This book uses the Iraq War as a vivid example, but it also documents the evolution of this destructive symbiosis since the late nineteenth century. It is by no means only a historical record. This is a handbook for perceptive citizens who need the evidence of history to guard against the powerful and subtle forces which have perverted the true notion of patriotism and made war an option far more acceptable than it ought to be.

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