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October 2021

Going cultural: Star Trek, state action, and popular culture

Journal/Book: Millennium J Int Stud. 1999; 28: London School Economics Houghton St, London, England WC2a 2AE. Millennium Publishing Group. 117+.

Abstract: International Relations has recently witnessed a 'return of culture' both as a source of insecurity and as an object of analysis. But this renewed focus on culture has limited the investigation of culture to elite or interstate settings and has correspondingly failed to examine the role of popular culture. This essay argues that popular culture contributes significantly to the reproduction, and hence the popularisation, of official foreign policy discourse, and thus to state action. Popular culture, it is argued, provides a background of meanings that help to constitute public images of international relations and foreign policy. As a result, popular culture helps to construct the reality of international politics for officials and non-officials alike and, to the extent that it reproduces the content and structure of the dominant foreign policy discourse, it helps to produce consent to foreign policy and state action. In order to direct the attention of IR scholars to the importance of popular culture and its role in the production of common sense about international relations and state action, the relationship between US foreign policy, and the discursive universe of Star Trek is examined.

Note: Article Weldes J, Kent State Univ, Dept Polit Sci, Kent,OH 44242 USA


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