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PIED5547M
Module Reading List

Popular Culture: World politics, Society and Culture, 2019/20, Semester 1
Dr. Nick Robinson
N.Robinson@leeds.ac.uk
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Books, Journals and Research Sources

Textbooks

The best textbook for this course is:

Caso, F. and Hamilton, C. (eds) (2015) Popular Culture and World Politics: Theories, Methods, Pedagogies(Bristol: E-International Relations). Available at: http://www.e-ir.info/2015/04/22/edited-collection-popular-culture-and-world-politics/[NB this is an open access bookand freely available; you can also purchase a print copy if you prefer]. The simple truth of the situation is that no book will deliver precisely what we require for this module given that through our collective endeavours we will seek to make a contribution to knowledge ourselves – but this has a number of useful essays within.

The next best textbooks are (listed in alphabetical order):

Bleiker, R. (2012) Aesthetics and world politics ISBN: 9780230244375 (e-book) (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). This is a landmark book by a key author in the field who compelling made the case for the centrality of popular culture to the study of world politics. Bleiker’s work appears elsewhere across the module and is very important. 

Nexon, D.H. and IB Neumann, I.B. (eds) (2006) Harry Potter and international relations ISBN: 9780742539594 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780742539587 (cloth : alk. paper); 074253958X (cloth : alk. paper); 0742539598 (pbk. : alk. paper)(Lanham, MA: Rowman and Littlefield). Whilst about Harry Potter and thus on the surface of narrow value, this book actually is extremely useful for our purposes as it covers the intersection between world politics and popular culture in a wide-variety of ways. Available as an e-book.

Shapiro, M.J. (2013) Studies in trans-disciplinary method : after the aesthetic turn ISBN: 9780415692946 (pbk.); 9780415783552 (hbk.); 0415783550 (hbk.); 0415692946 (pbk.); 9780203101506 (ebook) (Abingdon: Routledge). This is a challenging book intellectually but it makes an extremely important contribution to scholarship which articulates the ways in which popular culture can be used as method, namely to shape how we do research. The insights from within this thinking will be set out as we go on so do take a look at Shapiro’s work which appears in a wide-variety of places. 

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Reference, Websites etc.

The best source which tells you what has happened in the games industry is:

gamesindustry.biz – This is an excellent site which provides some engaged writing and commentary from within the industry. As a student you can get a free account and subscribe to the newsletter which pops into your inbox at about 5pm each day. The URL is: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/

NB as far as I am aware there is no real equivalent to gamesindustry.biz in either of the other industries, but this may be my ignorance!

A good example of a text to help you with the art and craft of Critical Review:

There is masses of material which could help here so it may be dangerous to recommend anything as we have quite a bit on the reading list as the module unfolds but just in case an example at this stage would help, the following is highly useful:

Garrelts, N. (ed.) (2006) The meaning and culture of Grand theft auto : critical essays ISBN: 0786428228 (softcover : alk. paper); 9780786428229 (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co. Inc.). Lots of detailed reading of this seminal series. This is available as an e-book.

Useful reports which discuss the nature of the different popular cultural industries and which provide valuable data are at:

On music

IFPI (2017) Global Music Report 2017: Annual State of the Industry (IFPI). Available at: http://www.ifpi.org/downloads/GMR2017.pdf. The annual report of The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. There are several other reports on their website and useful data.

On film

MPPA (2017) The Economic Contribution of the Motion Picture & Television Industry to the United States (MPPA). Available at: https://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Economic-Contribution-of-the-Motion-Picture-Television-Industry-to-the-United-States-2017.pdf. I appreciate that this is not global, but the Motion Picture Association of America produces a number of useful reports at: https://www.mpaa.org/research-and-reports/

MPPA (2017) The Economic Contribution of Film and Television in China in 2016 (MPPA). Available at: https://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/MPAA_China_2016_WEB-2.pdf

 

On the videogames industry

A really useful hub to research on the UK industry is at: http://ukie.org.uk/research

The US-based Entertainment Software Associationis well worth exploring. They are an umbrella group and a lobby group but do offer a number of useful reports. They are at: http://www.theesa.com. They also have a bunch of reports at: http://www.theesa.com/category/research/

Weekly Outline

The weekly outline is subdivided by topic with reading for both the seminar contained below.

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Introduction (seminar, week 1)

Obviously, there is no reading for this week as this is largely an organisational and orientation session. However, to get us going we will turn our mind to a couple of questions:

Introductory questions

Q1) What is your favourite popular cultural product/artefact and why?

Q2) Which popular cultural artefact did you find the most interesting? Why?

Political Question

Q3) Thinking about the political, cultural and social reaction to popular culture – is popular culture generally seen in a positive or negative light? Provide some evidence for your view and discuss why that is and what the impact is.

Q3b) Are some types of popular culture seen more positively than others? If so, why?

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Introductory question – part 1

Q1) Drawing from the reading (in particular Weldes and Rowley (2015); Neumann and Nexon (2006); Grayson et al (2009)), deconstruct the different ways in which popular culture matters for world politics.

Seminar Question – part 2

Q2) Think about a specific artefact or genre (e.g. music, film, TV, videogames, novels) of popular culture – what are its political implications in terms of the frameworks of popular culture set out above? NB we will aim to cover examples from all of the genres within the module in our discussion.

Key reading

Weldes, J. and Rowley, C. (2015) ‘So, How Does Popular Culture Relate to World Politics?’ in F Caso and C Hamilton (eds) Popular Culture and World Politics: Theories, Methods, Pedagogies(Bristol: E-International Relations), pp. 11-33. Available at: http://www.e-ir.info/2015/04/22/edited-collection-popular-culture-and-world-politics/

Neumann, IB. and Nexon, DH (2006) ‘Introduction: Harry Potter and the Study of World Politics’ in DH Nexon and IB Neumann (eds) Harry Potter and international relations ISBN: 9780742539594 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780742539587 (cloth : alk. paper); 074253958X (cloth : alk. paper); 0742539598 (pbk. : alk. paper)(Lanham, MA: Rowman and Littlefield), pp. 1-23. Available as an e-book.

Grayson, K., Davies, M. and Philpott, S. (2009) ‘Pop Goes IR? Researching the Popular Culture-World Politics Continuum’,Politics. ISSN: 0263-3957; 1467-9256, 29(3): 155-63.

Other extremely useful material is:

  • Bleiker, Roland (2001) ‘The Aesthetic Turn in International Political Theory’, Millennium. ISSN: 0305-8298, 30(3): 509-533. 

  • Robinson, N. (2015) ‘Have you Won the War on Terror? Military Videogames and the State of American Exceptionalism’, Millennium., 43(2): 450-70.

Rowley, C., and J. Weldes. 2012. The evolution of international security studies and the everyday: Suggestions from the Buffyverse. Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-0106,43(6): 513–30.

Weber, C. (2014) International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction, 4thEdition (London: Routledge), pp. 1-13. 

Other reading

Moore, C. and Shepherd, L.J. (2010) ‘Aesthetics and International Relations: Towards a Global Politics’, Global Society. ISSN: 1360-0826; 1469-798X, 24(3): 299-309. Tracks the origins of the aesthetic turn and the importance of popular culture to that turn. A very useful overview.

Shapiro, M.J. (2013) Studies in trans-disciplinary method : after the aesthetic turn ISBN: 9780415692946 (pbk.); 9780415783552 (hbk.); 0415783550 (hbk.); 0415692946 (pbk.); 9780203101506 (ebook) (Abingdon: Routledge). This is a challenging book intellectually, but it makes an extremely important contribution to scholarship which articulates the ways in which popular culture can be used as method, namely to shape how we do research. The insights from within this thinking will be set out as we go on so do take a look at Shapiro’s work which appears in a wide-variety of places.  

Weldes, J. (ed.) (2003) To seek out new worlds : science fiction and world politics ISBN: 9781403960580 (paperback); 031229557X (hardback); 9780312295578 (hardback); 1403960585 (paperback) (Basingstoke: Macmillan). A comprehensive collection which looks at the intersection between science fiction and world politics in a variety of ways. Available as an e-book

Weber, C. (2006) Imagining America at war : morality, politics, and film ISBN: 0415375363 (hbk.); 0415375371 (pbk.); 9780415375368 (hbk.) (London: Routledge). This highly accessible book uses a reading of a variety of films (predominantly war films) to track phases and tendencies in the American popular imaginary about self (primarily) and other.

Shapiro, M.J. (2009) Cinematic geopolitics ISBN: 9780415776363 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780415776356 (hardback : alk. paper); 041577635X (hardback : alk. paper); 0415776368 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780203892008 (ebook); 0203892003 (ebook) (London: Routledge). This is typical of Shapiro’s work in that it uses film to track developments within world politics and to use film to rupture thinking about world politics. It is an excellent and compelling work. Available as an e-book.

Weldes, J. (1999) ‘Going Cultural: Star Trek, State Action and Popular Culture’, Millennium. ISSN: 0305-8298, 28(1): 117-34. An in-depth reading of Star Trek which exposes parallels with US foreign policy in a compelling way. Popular culture is here used as mirror in Neumann and Nexon’s terms.

Bleiker, R. (2012) Aesthetics and world politics ISBN: 9780230244375 (e-book) (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). This is a landmark book by a key author in the field who compelling made the case for the centrality of popular culture to the study of world politics. Bleiker’s work appears elsewhere across the module and is very important. 

Drezner, D. (2011) Theories of international politics and zombies ISBN: 9780691147833 (pbk. : alk. paper); 0691147833 (pbk. : alk. paper) (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). Perhaps a classic example of a textbook which uses popular culture to ‘simplify’ theory.

Artefacts of popular culture

In a sense, there is a danger with recommending anything as everything will be useful to get you thinking! But just in case you lack inspiration how about…

  • TV series such as Breaking Bad; The West Wing; Game of Thrones
  • Films such as Coach Carter; Apocalypse Now;
  • Videogames such as: September 12th; McDonalds game; Tomb Raider; GTAseries
  • Comics such as: DMZ by Brian Wood; Maus:a survivor's tale by Art Spiegelman;Watchmen by Alan Moore
  • Novels, for example: George Orwell, 1984; John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath; Albert Camus, The Plague
  • Music such as: Beyoncé, Lemonade; Green Day – American Idiot

As I said – anything will do!

If you want to read at this stage about specific artefacts and how they can help us engage with world politics then the following are examples of texts which have engaged with a specific popular cultural artefact to demonstrate the significance of the intersection between popular culture and world politics. NB we will return to most of the reading below later in the course, so don’t worry too much if you don’t have time to read the articles below this week.

Grayson, K. (2017) ‘Capturing the multiplicities of resilience through popular geopolitics: Aesthetics and homo resilio in Breaking Bad’, Political geography., 57: 24-33.This is an excellent article which uses a reading of Breaking Bad to map emerging political trends within the USA. The reading is indicative of popular culture as method, designed to provoke and invoke thinking. The focus on the aesthetic subject and its implications will be covered as part of our discussion of visual world politics (week 5-6).

Holland, J. (2011) ‘‘When You Think of the Taliban, Think of the Nazis’: Teaching Americans ‘9/11’ in NBC’s The West Wing’, Millennium. ISSN: 0305-8298, 40(1): 85-106. This is a really useful article which not only deconstructs the narrative threads within a specific episode of the West Wing but also shows how it helped enable certain forms of political possibility post 9/11. We will look at it in more detail as part of the reading for week 4.

Clapton, W. and Shepherd, LJ. (2017) ‘Lessons from Westeros: Gender and Power in Game of Thrones’, Politics., 37(1): 5-19. This is an extremely thought-provoking article which makes the case for the value of popular culture to illuminate trends in IR theory, and specifically the way in which gender is frequently marginalised within the discipline. Popular culture is thus shown for its value to teaching and learning but also as critical resource to invoke thinking. We will return to it in week 10.

Hansen, L. (2017) ‘Reading Comics for the Field of International Relations: Theory, Method and the Bosnian War’, European journal of international relations. ISSN: 1354-0661, 23(3): 581-608. Another excellent article which is of relevance significantly beyond the discussion of comics. It offers insight for method, legitimates the value of comics for IR and provides a number of highly thoughtful insights for visual analysis more broadly. This is key reading for week 6.

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The narrative turn in world politics (seminar, week 3)

Q1) What is the narrative turn in world politics? How important is it?

Q2) Is the narrative turn simply a method for doing politicsresearch or is it more than that? Thinking specifically in terms of what the narrative turn says about method, how true is it to say that it disrupts and challenges what we come to think of as ‘valid’ knowledge/methods?

Q3) ‘The narrative turn is little more than frustrated academics operating as poor novelists.’ Discuss.

Key reading

Holland, J. (2013) Selling the War on Terror : foreign policy discourses after 9/11 ISBN: 9781138797468 (paperback); 9780415519755 (hardback); 0415519756 (hardback); 1138797464 (paperback); 9781136207549 (ebook) (Abingdon: Routledge). See in particular, pp.110-34 which deconstructs and exposes the narratives within the USA, Australia and UK in response to 9/11. This is very accessible and helpful to get us going.

Moulin, C. (2016) ‘Narrative’ in A.N. Mhurchú and R. Shindo (eds) Critical imaginations in international relations ISBN: 9781315742168 (e-book) (Abingdon: Routledge), pp. 136-52. A very useful overview of the debate. NB, I will distribute a copy of this chapter if the book is not in the library in time.

Dauphinee, E. (2013) Critical Methodological and Narrative Developments in IR: A Forum. Available at: https://thedisorderofthings.com/2013/03/12/critical-methodological-and-narrative-developments-in-ir-a-forum/

Campbell, D. "Time Is Broken: The Return of the Past In the Response to September 11." Theory & Event, vol. 5 no. 4, 2001. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/tae.2001.0032

Edkins, J. (2013) ‘Novel Writing in International Relations: Openings for a Creative Practice’, Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-010644(4): 281–97. This piece mounts a strikingly valuable challenge to the notion that boundaries between academic and creative practice should be sustained. It also has important implications for methods. This is key reading for Q2.

Weber, C. (2014) International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction, 4thEdition (London: Routledge), pp. 1-13. The introduction (expanded across the whole book) makes the point very forcefully that the discipline of IR is itself constructed through a series of narratives, stories and ‘myths’. IR is thus a narrative about itself.

Park-Kang, S. (2015) ‘Fictional IR and imagination: Advancing narrative approaches’, Review of international studies. ISSN: 0260-2105, 41(2): 361-81. Similarly to Edkins, this makes a strong claim for fictional writing as a method to undertake IR research. The article also offers an example of fictional writing for IR theorising.

Artefacts:

Cynthia Weber’s work is also very interesting in capturing everyday voices to explore what it means to be American post 9/11. It is both thus a contributor to the narrative turn but also an exemplar of it and hence well worth a look. http://www.iamanamericanproject.com/index.html

There are some interesting examples in which IR academics have embraced the narrative turn by actually producing fictional/semi-fictional writing themselves. Key examples include:

Dauphinée, E. (2013) The politics of exile ISBN: 9780415640855 hardback; 0415640857 hardback; 9780415640848 paperback; 0415640849 paperback(London: Routledge).

Jackson, R. (2014) Confessions of a terrorist ISBN: 9781783600045 (e-book): A Novel(London: Zed Books).

There has been some interesting debate about the appropriateness (or otherwise) of such interventions by academics – should they remain committed to academic writing and do they have the ‘right’ to produce a novel?

Jackson, R. (2015) ‘Terrorism, Taboo, and Discursive Resistance: The Agonistic Potential of the Terrorism Novel’,International studies review. ISSN: 1079-1760; 1521-9488, 17(3):396–413. Here, Richard Jackson reflects on his own practice in using a novel to engage with IR.

A special issue on the Politics of Exilewas published in Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-0106, 44(4). http://journals.sagepub.com/toc/sdib/44/4. The essays are broadly supportive of Dauphinée’s intervention and the special issue also includes an essay by Dauphinée herself.

Other reading

Campbell, David (1998). Writing security : United States foreign policy and the politics of identity ISBN: 0719055490 (pbk). (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press). 5 copies in the library.

Croft, S. (2012) Securitizing Islam : identity and the search for security ISBN: 9781107632868 (paperback); 9781107020467 (hardback); 1107020468 (hardback); 1107632862 (paperback) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). 1 in the library [additional reading]

Daigle, M. (2016) ‘Writing the Lives of Others: Storytelling and International Politics’, Millennium. ISSN: 0305-8298, 45(1): 25-42. Direct reflection on the value of storytelling as method for IR.

Hansen, L (2000), ‘The Little Mermaid’s Silent Security Dilemma and the Absence of Gender in the Copenhagen School’, Millennium. ISSN: 0305-8298,29(2): 285-306.

Roberts, G. (2006) ‘History, theory and the narrative turn in IR’, Review of international studies. ISSN: 0260-2105, 32(4): 703-14. Scopes out some interesting parallels between history, which is frequently based on a narrative approach, and IR.

Shapiro, M.J. (2009) Cinematic geopolitics ISBN: 9780415776363 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780415776356 (hardback : alk. paper); 041577635X (hardback : alk. paper); 0415776368 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780203892008 (ebook); 0203892003 (ebook)(London: Routledge).Available as an e-book. Shapiro’s work is important in providing examples (i.e. for week 4) but also for emphasising visuals (week 5 and 6). His work, appears in a variety of forms elsewhere on the reading list as a result.

Shapiro, MJ (1988) The politics of representation : writing practices in biography, photography, and policy analysis ISBN: 0299116301 : $27.50 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press).   

Stanley L and Jackson R (2016) ‘Introduction: Everyday Narratives in World Politics’. Politics. ISSN: 0263-3957; 1467-925636(3): 223-235. This introduction is to a special issue which contains a number of articles which use focus groups to capture everyday narratives. Anything from the special issue would be useful if you are interested in this move within world politics.

  • Suganami, H. (2008) ‘Narrative Explanation and International Relations: Back to Basics’, Millennium. ISSN: 0305-8298, 37(2): 327-56.

Vaughan-Williams N and Stevens D (2016) ‘Vernacular Theories of Everyday (In)Security: The Disruptive Potential of Non-Elite Knowledge’. Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-010647(1): 40-58. One of the important implications of a move towards a narrative focus is to actively engage with the narratives of ‘everyday people’ as legitimate actors within world politics. This article is an exemplar of a focus-group based approach which personifies such work.

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Q1) We will begin the seminar with a discussion of the specific key readings listed below to help us to understand what a focus on popular cultural narratives can help us to learn about world politics.

Q2) Thinking through the example from a specific artefact (see guidance below), can you identify the key narrative threads within it? Also, what can we learn about world politics from the narratives within this artefact? How does it shape and/or serve to frame what we come to know of as world politics?

Q3) ‘The way we understand popular cultural narratives is largely a product of who we are as the reader of those narratives rather than trends that are intrinsic to the narratives themselves’. Discuss this thinking through the importance of audience/reception-based approaches.

Key reading

Fey, M. Poppe, A.E., Rauch, C. (2016) ‘The Nuclear Taboo, Battlestar Galactica, and the Real World: Illustrations from a Science-Fiction Universe’, Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-0106, 47(4): 348-65. Offers a really useful reading of Battlestar Galactica to demonstrate striking parallels between the fictional depiction within the recent TV series and contemporary nuclear weapons policy and framing.

Grayson, K. (2013) ‘How to Read Paddington Bear: Liberalism and the Foreign Subject in A Bear Called Paddington’, British journal of politics & international relations. ISSN: 1369-1481, 15(3): 378-93. Uses popular culture to ‘see’ things in the migration debate in a compelling fashion.

Holland, J. (2011) ‘‘When You Think of the Taliban, Think of the Nazis’: Teaching Americans ‘9/11’ in NBC’s The West Wing’, Millennium. ISSN: 0305-8298, 40(1): 85-106. This is a really useful article which not only deconstructs the narrative threads within a specific episode of the West Wing but also shows how it helped enable certain forms of political possibility post 9/11.

Macleod, A. (2014) ‘The Contemporary Fictional Police Detective as Critical Security Analyst: Insecurity and Immigration in the Novels of Henning Mankell and Andrea Camilleri’, Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-0106, 45(6): 515-29. This is a really interesting article which begins with a particularly clear framework which shows how the reading of popular culture offered can inform our understanding of world politics, derived (in the main from Neumann and Nexon’s work).

DeVane, B. and Squire, K. (2008) ‘The Meaning of Race and Violence in Grand Theft Auto’, Games and Culture ISSN: 1555-4120, 3(4): 264-85. This is an excellent example of a text which seeks to understand the meaning of a popular cultural product through engaging with the audience. What is interesting here is that the audience constructs narratives based also on their gameplay and experiences.

Artefacts

What I propose to do is for us to negotiate a specific artefact that we might all focus on for this week’s session so that we can spend part of the seminar discussing a specific case which we will all have had a chance to think about. If we are struggling then we can either engage with a source which others have written about or I can suggest some ideas.

Other reading

Åhäll, L. 2012. “The Writing of Heroines: Motherhood and Female Agency in Political Violence.” Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-0106 43 (4): 287–303. One of the cases strongly focuses on narrative; the second case combines narrative and visual analysis. We return to this article in our discussion of gender.

  • Weber, C (2006) Imagining America at war : morality, politics, and film ISBN: 0415375363 (hbk.); 0415375371 (pbk.); 9780415375368 (hbk.), (London: Routledge). This is excellent on identifying narratives within films, less so on visuals. This highly accessible book uses a reading of a variety of films (predominantly war films) to track phases and tendencies in the American popular imaginary about self (primarily) and other.3 in the library [fine]
  • Radway, J. (1984/1987/1991) Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press). A classic study which demonstrates the importance and value of an audience-based approach.7 in the library[fine]
  • Davies, M. (2010) ‘“You Can’t Charge People for Saving Their Lives!” Work in Buffy the Vampire SlayerInternational Political Sociology ISSN: 1749-5679, 4(2): 178-95. This is a very interesting article which uses a reading of Buffy to invoke/provoke thinking about work within IPE. A great example of the way in which a reading can be used in interesting ways.
  • Shepherd L.J. (2013) Gender, violence and popular culture : telling stories ISBN: 9780415517959 hardback; 0415517958 hardback; 9780415525916 paperback; 0415525918 paperback; 9780203105030 electronic book. (London: Routledge).  This is a wonderful book which offers a deep reading of the narratives in a whole raft of TV series (box sets) to demonstrate the parallels with gender, violence and popular culture.

Shapiro, M.J. (2009) Cinematic geopolitics ISBN: 9780415776363 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780415776356 (hardback : alk. paper); 041577635X (hardback : alk. paper); 0415776368 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780203892008 (ebook); 0203892003 (ebook)(London: Routledge).Available as an e-book. Shapiro’s work is important in providing examples (i.e. for week 4) but also for emphasising visuals (week 5 and 6). His work, appears in a variety of forms elsewhere on the reading list as a result.

Mutimer, D. (2016). ‘The Road to Afghanada: Militarization in Canadian Popular Culture During the War in Afghanistan’ Critical Military Studies, 2(3): 210-25. An important work which sets out to read two popular cultural artefacts which are indicative of militarism within a state (Canada) which is frequently framed as non-military. The key focus here is on engaging with the narratives, although there is also some sound and visual analysis.NB we don’t have this journal in the library but there is a copy of the article on Minerva.

Weldes, J. (1999) ‘Going Cultural: Star Trek, State Action and Popular Culture’, Millennium. ISSN: 0305-8298, 28(1): 117-34. An in-depth reading of Star Trek which exposes parallels with US foreign policy in a compelling way. Popular culture is here used as mirror in Neumann and Nexon’s terms.

Weber, C. (2014) International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction, 4thEdition (London: Routledge), pp. 1-13. Weber’s book combines narrative and visual analysis to expose what she terms the ‘myths’ that underpin IR theory. It is useful to show the work which decoding popular cultural narratives can do for world politics. It is also useful in offering worked examples of how to extract narratives and visual signifiers from popular cultural artefacts.

Weldes, J. (ed.) (2003) To seek out new worlds : science fiction and world politics ISBN: 9781403960580 (paperback); 031229557X (hardback); 9780312295578 (hardback); 1403960585 (paperback) (Basingstoke: Macmillan). A comprehensive collection which looks at the intersection between science fiction and world politics in a variety of ways.Available as an e-book

Power, M. and Crampton, A. (eds) (2007) Cinema and popular geo-politics ISBN: 0415463777; 9780415348188; 0415348188 (London: Routledge). 
2 copies in the library. There are a number of useful chapters within this book which use a reading of popular culture, and specifically narratives, to reflect on world politics in a variety of ways.

Rowley, C., and J. Weldes. 2012. The evolution of international security studies and the everyday: Suggestions from the Buffyverse. Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-0106,43(6): 513–30. Another excellent piece which reads the narratives in Buffy to open up ways of thinking about the origins of theory (here international security).

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The visual turn in world politics (seminar, week 5)

Q1) How important is visuality to world politics? How true is it to say that the world is increasingly framed and communicated to us visually?

Q2) What are the particular challenges with engaging with images and visual material for world politics?

Q3) ‘The move to visual world politics demonstrates the need for inter-disciplinary thinking and perhaps for the shattering of disciplinary boundaries full-stop’. Discuss this statement in-terms of the calls for plural methods (see in particular Bleiker (2015) below) and for the implications of the aesthetic turn in world politics.

Key reading

Shim, D. (2014) Visual politics and North Korea [electronic resource] : seeing is believing ISBN: 9781135011376 (e-book); 9780415839488 (hardback); 9780203746479 (e-book) (London: Routledge), Ch.1.Available as an e-book.Chapter 1 (the key reading) is excellent, providing an overview which covers the importance of visuality to world politics, the origins of the visual turn and its place in debates on world politics, and offers some insights into methods. All in all, excellent stuff.

Campbell, D. (2007) ‘Geopolitics and Visuality: Sighting the Darfur Conflict’, Political geography. ISSN: 0962-6298, 26(4): 357-82.A landmark paper which was perhaps one of the earliest systematic articulations of the centrality of visual world politics. The article contains some very useful questions and begins the articulation of a substantive project based on visual analysis of photographs of the Darfur conflict.

Bleiker, R. (2015) ‘Pluralist Methods for Visual Global Politics’, Millennium. ISSN: 0305-8298, 43(3): 872-90. Roland Bleiker is perhaps one of the key scholars in this field and has just finished an outstanding book which we will make use of if it is published in time! This is a very important article which makes the point that plural methods are vital in dealing with visual world politics. Part of the problem as he argues – a claim which I share – is that there has been an unhelpful bifurcation between quantitative and qualitative thinking in regards to visual analysis.

Shepherd, L.J. (2008) ‘Visualising Violence: Legitimacy and Authority in the ‘war on terror’, Critical studies on terrorism ISSN: 1753-9153, 1(2): 213-26. A very useful application of visual analysis to the unfolding war on terror which demonstrates shifts in how the war on terror was framed and explores the consequences of those shifts. The war on terror is a key area in which visual analysis is applied so this is very useful also as an exemplar.

Hutchison, E. and Bleiker, R. (2015) ‘Art, Aesthetics and Emotionality’ in L.J. Shepherd (ed.) Gender Matters in Global Politics(London: Routledge), 2ndedition, pp. 349-60. Available as an e-book.Highly accessible and very engaging introduction to the field. This may well serve as an excellent primer to the topic as a whole.

Aradau C and Hill A (2013) ‘The Politics of Drawing: Children, Evidence, and the Darfur Conflict.’ International Political Sociology ISSN: 1749-5679 7(4): 368–387. A fascinating article which looks at the role which children’s images took (or didn’t take!) in deliberations of evidence in criminal trials. There is much here on politics worth discussing.

Other reading

Bleiker, R. (ed) (2018) Visual global politics ISBN: 9781317930884 (e-book) (Abingdon: Routledge). This is a forthcoming book which is due to be published in mid-February 2018 so hopefully it will be in the library in time for your essays! It is a wonderful collection of short, snappy essays by some of the leading authorities in the field based around extremely engaging and thought-provoking themes.

Moore, C. and Farrands, C. (2013) ‘Visual Analysis’ in L.J. Shepherd (ed) Critical approaches to security : an introduction to theories and methods ISBN: 9780415680172 hardback; 0415680174 hardback; 9780415680165 paperback; 0415680166 paperback; 9780203076873 ebook (London: Routledge), pp. 223-35. A very useful overview, with lots of good examples and illustrations and an important discussion of methods.
 

Hansen L (2011) ‘Theorizing the Image for Security Studies: Visual Securitization and the Muhammad Cartoon Crisis’, European journal of international relations. ISSN: 1354-0661 17(1): 51–74. Another excellent piece by Hansen which makes a powerful theoretical case that the ‘power’ of images cannot be deconstructed from the discursive way in which they are ‘processed’. The case is then made with a compelling discussion of the ‘Danish cartoons crisis’.

Hutchison, E. (2014) ‘A Global Politics of Pity? Disaster Imagery and the Emotional Construction of Solidarity after the 2004 Asian Tsunami’, International Political Sociology ISSN: 1749-5679, 8(1): 1-19. A very interesting analysis which uses a very clear worked example based on analysis of images from the New York Times which were produced in the aftermath of the Asian Tsunami of 2004. The argument is that these images were framed in a neo-colonial fashion designed to invoke emotion and mobilise aid from the West.

Robinson, N. and Schulzke, M. (2016) ‘Visualizing War? Towards a Visual Analysis of Videogames and Social Media’, Perspectives on politics. ISSN: 1537-5927, 14(4): 995-1010. This paper combines a useful foregrounding through a discussion of the visual turn, work on militarism, and a discussion of popular culture/videogames before articulating a method to ‘capture’ visual world politics.

Shapiro, M.J. (2009) Cinematic geopolitics ISBN: 9780415776363 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780415776356 (hardback : alk. paper); 041577635X (hardback : alk. paper); 0415776368 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780203892008 (ebook); 0203892003 (ebook) (London: Routledge). See, in particular, pp.16-38 on ‘The New Violent Cartography.’
This chapter is typical of Shapiro’s approach, encapsulating thinking on method with an impressively wide-ranging discussion of emerging themes within militarism and world politics.Available as an e-book.

Bleiker, R & Hutchinson, E (2008) ‘Fear no more: emotions and world politics’, Review of international studies. ISSN: 0260-2105 (Special Issue: Cultures and Politics of Global Communication), 34(S1): 115-35.This is an important piece which demonstrates that the study of emotions can be ‘got at’ through a focus on visual artefacts. The argument’s importance for us is to demonstrate that the visual turn is integral to opening up new areas of inquiry to world politics and IR scholars.

Sontag, Susan (1979/2002) On Photography (New York: Penguin Books), pp. 153-180. 
Lots in the library. Sontag offers the provocative position that an image cannot speak for itself independently of text which is crucial to shaping an images meaning. This is important as it raises a key theme for us to consider – can images speak alone or not?

Hansen, L. (2015) ‘How images make world politics: International icons and the case of Abu Ghraib’, Review of international studies. ISSN: 0260-2105 41(2): 263–88. Focuses on how images become seen as iconic and how we can come to understand how such iconic images flow around world politics and have resonance/impact. 


Heck A and Schlag G (2013) ‘Securitizing images: The female body and the war in Afghanistan’. European journal of international relations. ISSN: 1354-0661 19(4): 891–913.
The article is prefaced with a very useful literature review on the power of images, alongside a discussion of securitization theory. There is then an articulation of methodology and application to discuss a particularly significant image from Time magazine.

Möller F (2007) ‘Photographic interventions in post-9/11 security policy.’ Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-0106 38(2): 179–196. This is an early and very important piece which brings centre stage the importance of memory – our collective and individual memories are crucial to understanding how we come to think of images. It then reflects on three important photographic exhibitions.

Weber C (2014) ‘Encountering violence: Terrorism and horrorism in war and citizenship.’ International Political Sociology ISSN: 1749-5679 8(3): 237–255.
A conceptually driven reading of three different art works – very useful and informative.

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Visuality and world politics: Interpreting visual artefacts (seminar, week 6)

Q1) We will begin the seminar with a discussion of the specific key readings listed below to help us to understand what a focus on decoding visuality within popular cultural can help us to learn about world politics.

Q2) Thinking through the example from a specific artefact (see guidance below), can you identify the key visual threads within it? Also, what can we learn about world politics from the visual representations and depictions within this artefact? How does it shape and/or serve to frame what we come to know of as world politics?

Q3) ‘The way we understand popular cultural visuals is largely a product of who we are as the reader of those visuals rather than trends that are intrinsic to the visuals themselves’. Discuss this thinking through the importance of audience/reception-based thinking.

Key reading

Rowley, C. (2015) ‘Popular Culture and the Politics of the Visual’ in L.J. Shepherd (ed) Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations (London: Routledge), 2ndedition, pp. 361-74. Available as an e-book.This is a highly accessible introduction which sets out the scope of the ways in which visual artefacts and popular culture can be engaged with. The framework used is similar to that of Rose in her landmark book, Visual Methodologies (see below).

Hansen, L. (2017) ‘Reading Comics for the Field of International Relations: Theory, Method and the Bosnian War’, European journal of international relations. ISSN: 1354-0661, 23(3): 581-608. Another excellent article which is of relevance significantly beyond the discussion of comics. It offers insight for method, legitimates the value of comics for IR and provides a number of highly thoughtful insights for visual analysis more broadly.

Hansen L (2011) ‘Theorizing the Image for Security Studies: Visual Securitization and the Muhammad Cartoon Crisis’, European journal of international relations. ISSN: 1354-0661 17(1): 51–74. A very important contribution which looks at the politics around this particular event and its visual constitution in real detail. The analysis of the specific case is preceded by an extremely well thought through framework.

Šisler, V. (2008) ‘Digital Arabs: Representation in Video Games’, European Journal of Cultural Studies ISSN: 1367-5494, 11(2): 203–220. Whilst a little dated now in terms of the examples used, this article is a very useful exemplar of the focus within much analysis of war-based videogames on identifying orientalist depictions of Arab ‘enemies’. It is thus extremely useful for our purposes.

Dodds, K. (2007) ‘Steve Bell's Eye: Cartoons, Geopolitics and the Visualization of the `War on Terror', Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-0106,38(2): 157-77. There is a very useful framing here and justification for a focus on images but crucially also a deconstruction of a number of Steve Bell’s images.

Methods

When you come to undertake your own interrogation of visual artefacts or when you begin to think about artefacts through a visual lens, some of the following may prove highly useful. It is also worth keeping in mind that there are two issues at stake in encountering popular culture in all its forms – methods and methodology. Whilst minded that this is an issue which permeates the whole module, it is particularly brought to head in Bleiker’s (2015) piece which we have discussed in week 5. That said, keep it in mind in thinking about the work below also. Finally, disaggregating visual analysis from narrative is often difficult (the job gets trickier still when we think about sound and gameplay)!

Rose, G. (2016) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials, 4thEdition(London: Sage). There are multiple copies of all editions in the library. The first edition is available as an e-book.

Philip Bell (2001) ‘Content Analysis of Visual Images’ or Martin Lister and Liz Wells (2001) ‘Seeing Beyond Belief: Cultural Studies as an Approach to Analysing the Visual’, or Theo van Leeuwen (2001) ‘Semiotics and Iconography’ all inTheo van Leeuwen and Carey Jewitt (eds.) Handbook of visual analysis ISBN: 0761964770 (pbk); 0761964762; 9781446205372 (ebk.) (London: Sage): pp. 10-34; 61-90; 92-118. Available as an e-book.

Grayson, K. (2017) ‘Capturing the multiplicities of resilience through popular geopolitics: Aesthetics and homo resilio in Breaking Bad’, Political geography., 57: 24-33.This is an excellent article which uses a reading of Breaking Bad to map emerging political trends within the USA. The reading is indicative of popular culture as method, designed to provoke and invoke thinking. The focus on the aesthetic subject and its implications will be covered as part of our discussion of visual world politics (week 5-6).

Shim, D. (2014) Visual politics and North Korea [electronic resource] : seeing is believing ISBN: 9781135011376 (e-book); 9780415839488 (hardback); 9780203746479 (e-book) (London: Routledge), Ch.1.Available as an e-book.Shim offers a specifically clear articulation of method on pp. 34-9.

Other reading

Shapiro, M.J. (2009) Cinematic geopolitics ISBN: 9780415776363 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780415776356 (hardback : alk. paper); 041577635X (hardback : alk. paper); 0415776368 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780203892008 (ebook); 0203892003 (ebook)(London: Routledge).Available as an e-book. Shapiro’s work is important in providing examples (i.e. for week 4) but also for emphasising visuals (week 5 and 6). His work, appears in a variety of forms elsewhere on the reading list as a result.

Weber, C. (2014) International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction, 4thEdition (London: Routledge), pp. 1-13. Weber’s book combines narrative and visual analysis to expose what she terms the ‘myths’ that underpin IR theory. It is useful to show the work which decoding popular cultural narratives can do for world politics. It is also useful in offering worked examples of how to extract narratives and visual signifiers from popular cultural artefacts.

Höglund, J. (2008) ‘Electronic empire: Orientalism revisited in the military shooter.’ Game studies [electronic resource]. ISSN: 1604-7982, 8 (1). Available at: http://gamestudies.org/0801/articles/hoeglundDemonstrates the value of a visual reading of military videogames to show their orientalist representations of friends and enemies in convincing fashion.

Åhäll, L. 2012. ‘The Writing of Heroines: Motherhood and Female Agency in Political Violence.’ Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-010643(4): 287–303. This is a detailed reading of both a popular cultural artefact (film) and news reporting of women in combat roles, to show how they are framed, particularly in terms of motherhood. It is very interesting and demonstrates how a reading of popular culture can provoke thinking but also expose real-world political phenomenon. This is key reading for week 10 on race and gender.

Philpott, S. (2010) ‘Is anyone watching? War, cinema and bearing witness.’ Cambridge Review of International Affairs ISSN: 0955-7571; 1474-449X 23(2): 325-48.

Williams, D. et. al (2009) ‘The virtual census: Representations of gender, race and age in video games.’ New media and society. ISSN: 1461-4448, 11(5): 815-34. This offers classic content analysis of a whole raft of games. It is typical of much of the content analysis of games more generally in that it looks at static visual representations of games rather than gameplay.

Near, C. (2013) ‘Selling gender: Associations of box art representation of female characters with sales for teen- and mature-rated video games’, Sex roles. ISSN: 0360-0025, 68(2): 252-69. Offers a large n quantitative study which reveals that games with women predominantly on the box sell poorly compared to those which feature male characters/non-human characters.

Jansz, J. and Martis, R. (2007) ‘The Lara Phenomenon: Powerful Female Characters in Video Games’, Sex roles., 56(3-4): 141-8. Along with the two articles above, these are all useful regardless of whether or not you are interested in videogames. All three articles demonstrate the challenges of undertaking visual content analysis of popular cultural artefacts (in all their forms) due to the sheer number of images present and their moving nature (in the main).

  • Shepherd L.J. (2013) Gender, violence and popular culture : telling stories ISBN: 9780415517959 hardback; 0415517958 hardback; 9780415525916 paperback; 0415525918 paperback; 9780203105030 electronic book. (London: Routledge).This is a wonderful book which offers a deep reading of the narratives and visuals in a whole raft of TV series (box sets) to demonstrate the parallels with gender, violence and popular culture.

Shapiro, M.J. (2015) War crimes, atrocity, and justice ISBN: 9780745689531 (e-book) (Cambridge: Polity Press). .Shapiro utilises popular culture narratives and visual analysis in parallel to provoke thinking as method and to map out and expose trends and tendencies in world politics. His work is extremely important, yet can be quite demanding intellectually but is well-worth the effort!

Shapiro, M.J. (2016) Politics and time : documenting the event ISBN: 9781509507849 (e-book)(Cambridge: Polity). Like his books, above, this book uses a detailed reading and encounter of popular culture to think through important issues of method, theory and real-world politics.

Arnold, G., et al (2017) Music/video : histories, aesthetics, media ISBN: 9781501313905 (HB); 1501313908 (HB); 9781501313912 (paperback alkaline paper); 1501313916 (paperback alkaline paper); 9781501313929 (ePDF); 9781501313936 (epub); 13133686(New York: Bloomsbury Academic).

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Q1) Evaluate recent moves to increase the numbers of women and people of colour within the production side of the popular cultural industries. How successful have those moves been?

Q2) ‘Whilst it used to be the case that popular culture production was dominated by the West, this is no longer the case’. Discuss thinking through different popular culture sectors such as film, music, TV and videogames.

Q3) ‘The videogames industry is striking compared to other popular cultural sectors in the lack of stories which represent the global south and indigenous people’ Discuss.

Key reading

Mirlrlees, T. (2013) Global entertainment media : between cultural imperialism and cultural globalization ISBN: 9780203122747 (e-book) (Abingdon: Routledge), Ch. 2 covers the global political economy of the popular cultural industries – it offers a very useful overview; Ch.3 looks at state influence and control over national media policy. NB I will distribute a copy of this chapter if the book is not in the library on time.

Goff, P.M. (2006) ‘Producing Harry Potter: Why the Medium is Still the Message’ in D.H. Nexon and I.B. Neumann (eds) Harry Potter and international relations ISBN: 9780742539594 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780742539587 (cloth : alk. paper); 074253958X (cloth : alk. paper); 0742539598 (pbk. : alk. paper)(Oxford: Roman and Littlefield), pp. 27-44. Chapter within the e-book.

The rest of the key reading is divided by industry. I suggest you think about a specific industry (perhaps two) to aid your thinking.

 

On film

Scott, A. (2004) ‘Hollywood and the World: The Geography of Motion-Picture Distribution and Marketing’, Review of international political economy. ISSN: 0969-2290, 11(1): 33-61. A detailed (if a bit dated now) overview of production and distribution of Hollywood films and independents. What is really useful is the tail-end of the article (pp.53-8) which discusses the global distribution and circulation of Hollywood films.

Hozic, A.A. (2014) ‘Between “National” and “Transnational”: Film Diffusion as World Politics’, International studies review. ISSN: 1079-1760; 1521-9488, 16(2): 229–39. This is an impressively wide-ranging piece which also raises issues of value for week 11 on soft power. In sum, it explores political economy, culture, circulation, resistance etc. to offer a holistic account of the opportunities and barriers to diffusion and acceptance of films worldwide.

On videogames

Johns, J. (2006) ‘Video Games Production Networks: Value Capture, Power Relations and Embeddedness’, Journal of economic geography ISSN: 1468-2702, vol. 6, no. 2, 151-80. On the global political economy of the videogames industry – whilst dated, this remains a landmark. What is striking is that there has not been an article which reproduces Johns’ work in this form since 2006, although there are some insights within book length studies (see other reading on the full reading list).

Dyer-Witherford, N. and de Peuter, G. (2009) Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video games (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press). Available as an e-book.There is a lot in this book and it is very accessible in style. Chapter 1 covers the origins of videogame production within the USA tracking its links to the Military-Industrial Complex, before making the point that the rise of Japan challenged US popular cultural dominance in unprecedented ways. It also covers the nature of labour within this sector. The final section of Ch.1 covers gender and production. Ch.2 whilst focused on EA (one of the largest videogames developers/publishers in the world) provides an accessible overview of the political economy of the industry from the perspective of this company.

Egenfeldt-Nielson, S., Smith, J. and Tosca, S. (2016) Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction(London: Routledge), Ch. 2 on the nature of the industry offers a very clear (if quite descriptive) overview of roles in the industry, the nature of the console business, distribution etc. Available as an e-book

On music

Shuker, R. (2013) Understanding Popular Music Culture (London: Routledge), 4thedition. Available as an e-book.Ch. 14 is particularly useful. It looks at state policy within the music industry, particularly in the pursuit of protecting national culture through music investment and cultural policy.

Useful reports which discuss the nature of the different popular cultural industries and which provide valuable data are at:

On music

IFPI (2017) Global Music Report 2017: Annual State of the Industry (IFPI). Available at: http://www.ifpi.org/downloads/GMR2017.pdf. The annual report of The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. There are several other reports on their website and useful data.

On film

MPPA (2017) The Economic Contribution of the Motion Picture & Television Industry to the United States (MPPA). Available at: https://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Economic-Contribution-of-the-Motion-Picture-Television-Industry-to-the-United-States-2017.pdf. I appreciate that this is not global, but the Motion Picture Association of America produces a number of useful reports at: https://www.mpaa.org/research-and-reports/

MPPA (2017) The Economic Contribution of Film and Television in China in 2016 (MPPA). Available at: https://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/MPAA_China_2016_WEB-2.pdf

 

On the videogames industry

A really useful hub to research on the UK industry is at: http://ukie.org.uk/research

The US-based Entertainment Software Associationis well worth exploring. They are an umbrella group and a lobby group but do offer a number of useful reports. They are at: http://www.theesa.com. They also have a bunch of reports at: http://www.theesa.com/category/research/

PWC produces an annual ‘Global Entertainment and Media Outlook.’ A summary is available at: https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/entertainment-media/outlook.html. Unfortunately, the cost of this is such that we don’t have it in the library but the good news is that they provide a lot of the associated material and headline information from the website. This report is also widely discussed in specialist media so if you google the name of the report and the industry that you want you should find what you need.

Other reading

NB the scope of this literature is very broad and please remember that much of it does not answer the questions which we have specifically set ourselves. There is also much in the library and in journals which is really useful but which is not on this list so please use your own research skills to build your bibliography for the essays in this field.

Kerr, A. (2017) Global games : production, circulation and policy in the networked era ISBN: 9780415858861 (hardback); 0415858860 (hardback); 9780415858878 (pbk.); 0415858879 (pbk.)(London/New York: Routledge).

Su, W. (2016) China's encounter with global Hollywood : cultural policy and the film industry, 1994-2013 ISBN: 9780813167084 (electronic bk.); 0813167086 (electronic bk.); 9780813167077; 0813167078; 9780813167060; 081316706X(Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky). Available as an e-book.This is also useful for the session on soft power.

Hozic, A. (2001) Hollyworld : space, power, and fantasy in the American economy ISBN: 0801439264 (Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press). 

Esser, A. et al (2016) Media across borders : localizing TV, film, and video games ISBN: 9781138809451 (hardcover alkaline paper); 1138809454 (hardcover alkaline paper); 9781315749983 (electronic book) (New York, NY: Routledge). Available as an e-book.

Dyer-Witheford, N. and de Peuter, G. (2009) ‘Empire@Play: Virtual games and global capitalism’,CTheory - Special Issue: Resetting Theory. Available at: http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=608[Contains a summary of the argument offered in Dyer-Witherford and de Peuter’s book].

Finney, A (2015) The International Film Business: A Market Guide Beyond Hollywood(London: Routledge, 2015), 2ndedition. 1 in the library.

Kaplan, A. and Pease, DE (eds.)
(1993) Cultures of United States imperialism ISBN: 0822314134 (pa); 0822314002 (cl)(Durham, NC : Duke University Press).

Allison, A (2006) Millennial monsters : Japanese toys and the global imagination ISBN: 0520245652 (pbk. : alk. paper); 0520221486 (cloth : alk. paper); 9780520245655, Berkeley: University of California Press, Ch.8. 


Franklin., M., (ed). (2005) Resounding international relations : on music, culture, and politics ISBN: 1403967555 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). 1 in the library.

Street, J. (2011) Music and Politics (Cambridge: Polity Press). NB this book tends to engage more with questions of aesthetics and activism. It is thus passim to this topic.

Hesmondhalgh, D. (2014) Why music matters ISBN: 9781405192415 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9781118535813 (epub); 9781118535837 (emobi); 9781118536070 (epdf); 9781405192422 (cloth : alk. paper)(Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd). Like Street above this tends to focus more on aesthetics, affect etc. There are thus useful insights into method herein.

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The Military-Entertainment Complex (seminar, week 8)

Q1) Set out the nature of the Military-Entertainment complex thesis. Do you find it convincing?

Q2) Discuss one key game, TV programme/series of film/movie in which militarization is central to it. What is the message of the game? How does it promote pro-war sentiment?

Q3) ‘Militaristic popular culture leads to the militarization of society and politics’. Discuss.

Key reading

Der Derian, J. (2009) Virtuous war : mapping the military-industrial-media-entertainment-network ISBN: 9780415772396; 9780415772389; 9780203881538 (New York: Routledge), 2ndedition. Available as an e-book.A total classic. What is really important about this book is that not only does it track the military entertainment complex but it also sets out his virtuous war thesis which emphasises the synergy between virtual/remote war and the way it is framed as clean and technocentric and without casualties (hence the virtual begets virtuous). Der Derian has written a number of articles also.

Stahl, R. (2007) Militainment Inc., Militarism and Popular Culture. This is a film made by an academic (Roger Stahl), who subsequently published a book of a similar name. The film is presently available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0pialb2DVo.

Robinson, N. (2012) ‘Videogames, persuasion and the War on Terror: Escaping or embedding the military-entertainment complex?’ Political studies. ISSN: 0032-3217; 1467-9248, 60(3): 504-22.A very wide-ranging overview of the military-entertainment complex within the videogames industry. Also covers the scope of resistance to that complex and so is highly useful, even if I say so myself!

Mirrlees, T. (2017) ‘Transforming Transformers into militainment: Interrogating the DoD-Hollywood complex.’ The American journal of economics and sociology. ISSN: 0002-9246 76(2): 405-34.

Stahl, R. (2006) ‘Have you played the War on Terror?’, Critical studies in media communication ISSN: 1529-5036, 23(2): 112-30. If you want to augment your watching of Stahl’s film then please access the essence of his argument through this earlier text which is also extremely useful.

Davies, M., and Philpott, S. (2012)‘Militarization and popular culture’ in K. Gouliamos and C. Kassimeris (eds) The marketing of war in the age of neo-militarism ISBN: 9780203130742 (e-book) (New York: Routledge), pp.42–59.  A copy of the chapter is on Minerva

Other reading

NB the scope of this literature is very broad and please remember that much of it does not answer the questions which we have specifically set ourselves. There is also much in the library and in journals which is really useful but which is not on this list so please use your own research skills to build your bibliography for the essays in this field.

Stahl, R. (2010) Militainment, Inc. : war, media, and popular culture ISBN: 9780415999786 (pbk.) : £18.99; 9780415999779 (hbk.) : £60.00; 0415999774 (hbk.) : £60.00; 0415999782 (pbk.) : £18.99(London: Routledge). An excellent book – extremely well written and draws striking inter-textual parallels to demonstrate how war is presented as ‘entertainment’ across multiple sites (news, popular culture, sport etc.).

Turse, N. (2009) The complex : how the military invades our everyday lives ISBN: 9780571228201 (pbk.) : £9.99; 0571228208 (pbk.) : £9.99(London: Faber and Faber). Highly accessible. This is another useful source on the military-entertainment complex, with resonance which covers pretty much everything on the course.

Lenoir, T. (2000) ‘All but war Is simulation: The military-entertainment complex’, Configurations : a journal of literature, science and technology. ISSN: 1063-1801, 8(3): 289-335.

Lenoir, T. and Lowood, H. (2000) Theaters of War: The Military-Entertainment Complex[online]. Standford University. Available from: http://www.sts.rpi.edu/public_html/ruiz/EGDSpring07/readings/THEATERS%20OF%20WAR.doc

Robinson, N. (2016) ‘Militarism and opposition in the living room: The case of military videogames’, Critical Studies on Security4(3): 255-75. Available as open access: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21624887.2015.1130491?src=recsys

Dodds, K. (2008) ‘Screening terror: Hollywood, the United States and the construction of danger’,Critical studies on terrorism ISSN: 1753-91531(2): 227-43. A useful discussion of the framing of terrorists within Hollywood representations, covering the pre-and post-9/11 period.

Philpott, S. (2010) ‘Is anyone watching? War, cinema and bearing witness.’ Cambridge Review of International Affairs ISSN: 0955-7571; 1474-449X 23(2): 325-48. A useful critical rejoinder to notions that the post 9/11 film landscape is dominated by pro-US military films.

Boggs, C., and Pollard, T. (2016) The Hollywood war machine : U.S. militarism and popular culture ISBN: 9781612057989 (pbk.) : £29.99; 9781612057972 (hbk.) : £99.99(Abingdon: Routledge), 2ndEdition..

Crogan, P. (2012) Gameplay mode : war, simulation, and technoculture ISBN: 9780816653348 (hbk.) : £56.00; 0816653348 (hbk.) : £56.00; 9780816653355 (pbk.) : £18.50; 0816653356 (pbk.) : £18.50 (University of Minnesota Press). Crogan’s work on militarism is interesting and accessible. There is a very useful historical section at the front-end of the book which provides an overview of the synergies between the military and the entertainment industries, with a specific focus on videogames.

Power, M. (2007) ‘Digitized virtuosity: Video war games and post-9/11 cyber-detterance’, Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-0106, 38(2): 271-88.

Lenoir, T. and Caldwell, L. (2017) The military-entertainment complex ISBN: 9780674724983 paperback(Harvard University Press).

Boggs, C. and Pollard, T. (2008) ‘The imperial warrior in Hollywood: Rambo and beyond’ New political science. ISSN: 0739-3148; 1469-9931, 30:4: 565-78. 


Morgan, M. (ed.) (2009) The impact of 9/11 on the media, arts, and entertainment : the day that changed everything? ISBN: 9780230608412 (hbk.) : £60.00; 0230608418 (hbk.) : £60.00(Basingstoke: Palgrave). A wide-ranging discussion which is valuable for much of the module. It is interesting in that it places much of the debate on contemporary war-based popular culture into context. Available as an e-book.

Boggs, C. and Pollard, T. (2006) ‘Hollywood and the spectacle of terrorism’ New political science. ISSN: 0739-3148; 1469-9931, 28(3): 335-51.

Huntemann, N. and Payne, M. (eds.) (2009) Joystick soldiers : the politics of play in military video games ISBN: 9780415996600 (pbk.) : £22.99; 9780415996594 (hbk.) : £65.00; 0415996597 (hbk.) : £65.00; 0415996600 (pbk.) : £22.99 (London: Routledge). A stunning collection of a wide variety of essays.

Payne, M.T. (2016) Playing war : military video games after 9/11 ISBN: 9781479805228 (pb ; alk. paper); 9781479848560 (hardback ; alk. paper); 1479848565 (hardback ; alk. paper); 147980522X (pb ; alk. paper)(New York, NY: NYU press).

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Q1) Set out the nature of the violence debate in relation to popular culture? How convincing do you find it?

To help with the above you can also consider the following related question:

Q2) ‘The debate on violence is a political one, there is little credibility in the science’. Discuss.

Political Questions. These are all inter-related…

Q3) ‘The problem is not violent popular culture it is liberal censorship laws’. Discuss this with specific reference to either film, TV or videogames.

Q4) How and why has the political establishment responded differently in different countries to popular culture such as film and videogames?

Q5) Should popular culture be regulated by national statue or is the predominant focus on voluntary frameworks adequate?

Key Reading

Egenfeldt-Nielson, S., Smith, J. and Tosca, S. (2016) Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction(London: Routledge), 3rdedition. Ch. 9 on videogames and risk. What is particularly useful about this chapter is that it covers the methodology which underpins the essence of the debate on the relationship between popular culture (and all media) and the players/users of that media. In essence, this is a debate about whether or not media has significant impacts on users or whether or not the predispositions of users is crucial to understanding the affects and effects of media and popular culture. The debate is at the heart of all psychological work and of that work which challenges the essence of psychological work. This chapter is thus useful not only for this week but also for understanding some of the work on popular culture and race/gender (week 10).Available as an e-book.

Ferguson, C. (2015) ‘Does Movie or Video Game Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When’, Journal of communication. ISSN: 0021-9916, 65(1): 193–212. A really interesting discussion between the link between real world violence and in-game and movie violence. Whilst the latter has risen in both cases, in the US, the former has declined.Ferguson is widely cited but it is fair to say he is something of an outlier within the psychology community!

Byron Review – Children and New Technology (2008) Safer Children in a Digital World: the report of the Byron Review (London: Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport).This is a very accessible review of the science on the videogames and violence debate. The review was particularly important as it underpins the response of government in relation to discussions over how to regulate access to age-appropriate videogames and media]. Available at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120106161038/https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DCSF-00334-2008

Robinson, N. (2012) ‘Videogames and Violence: Legislating on the ‘Politics of Confusion’,The political quarterly. ISSN: 0032-3179, 83(2): 414-23. Forgive plugging my own work! The article offers a comparative analysis of legislative responses in the UK and USA to videogames to show that the primary motives of politicians in the UK for changing to the PEGI framework is to avoid tackling irresponsible parenting.

Dill-Shackleford, K.E. (2015) How fantasy becomes reality : information and entertainment media in everyday life ISBN: 9780190239299 (hardcover); 0190239298 (hardcover)(Oxford: Oxford University Press), Ch. 4 offers a very wide-ranging and highly accessible discussion of the work from within Psychology (broadly defined) on popular culture and violence. It is important to emphasise that scholars such as Karen Dill-Shackleford are overwhelmingly critical of the representations within media and popular culture and also argue forcefully that these negative representations have highly problematic implications.Available as an e-book.

Calvert, S. et al (2017) ‘The American Psychological Association Task Force Assessment of Violent Video Games: Science in the Service of Public Interest’, The American psychologist. ISSN: 0003-066x, 72(2): 126-43. Offers a comprehensive review which suggests that there are strong links between violent games and behaviours in players.

Other reading

NB the ordering of these sources is to a sense arbitrary so please look at whatever seems most useful. And (like the topics above) there is masses on popular culture and violence such that you will have little problem finding valuable material for your essays. The key thing when you read is to be clear about what you are reading in order to think about. In short, there is important material which ‘reads’ violent content, there is a lot of work which looks at the effects (and sometimes affects) of that content, and there is some work which looks at the legal/political/legislative responses to violent media. The disciplinary traditions and form of this work is quite different.

Sparrow, R. et al (2018) ‘Playing for Fun, Training for War: Can Popular Claims About Recreational Video Gaming and Military Simulations be Reconciled?, Games and Culture ISSN: 1555-4120, 13(2): 174-192.This has a useful review of the violence debate and then links this to tensions in relation to debates about effective game-based training for the military. In short, can we square the view with games as harmless entertainment with claims that they are effective for training of soldiers?

Millwood, A. and Livingstone, S. (2006) Harm and offence in media content : a review of the evidence ISBN: 1841501611; 9781841501611(Bristol, UK; Portland, Or.: Intellect),Ch. 6 provides a very easy to read review of the factual affects-based research with a strong premium on the violence debate. It is very good for what the academic writing has to say on the subject. It is then for you guys to interpret that writing]. Available as an electronic book

Attwood, F. et al (2013) Controversial images : media representations on the edge ISBN: 9780230284050 (Houndmills, Basingstoke; New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan). There is material here which is useful beyond this week on violence but there are important deconstructions of a wide array of different types of violent images and the associated controversies within this book. Available as an e-book.

Kirsh, SJ (2012) Children, adolescents, and media violence : a critical look at the research ISBN: 9781412996426 (pbk.) : £35.99; 9781412996433 (hbk.) : £65.00; 1412996430 (hbk.) : £65.00; 1412996422 (pbk.) : £35.99(London: Sage), 2ndedition. Whilst quite detailed and covering debates which are broader than the module, there is a lot of important insight here. The earlier chapters cover general debates on media affects and there is a specific chapter on game-related violence.

Barker, M. and Petley, J (eds) (2001) Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate (London: Routledge), 2ndedition. Available as an e-book

Dovey, L. (2009) African film and literature : adapting violence to the screen ISBN: 9780231147552 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780231147545 (cloth : alk. paper); 9780231519380 (ebook)(New York: Columbia University Press). 1 in the library.

Ferguson, CJ (2013) Adolescents, crime, and the media : a critical analysis ISBN: 1461467403; 9781461467403(New York: Springer). Available as an e-book

Hartmann, T., Möller, I. and Krause, C. (2015) ‘Factors underlying male and female use of violent video games’, New media and society. ISSN: 1461-444817(11): 1777-94.

Shaw, T. (2015) Cinematic terror [electronic resource] : a global history of terrorism on film ISBN: 9781441193155 41.67 (NL)(New York: Bloomsbury Publishing). Available as an e-book.

Media Education Foundation (2013) Joystick warriors : video games, violence & militarism ISBN: 1932869832; 9781932869835(Northhampton, Mass: Media Education Foundation). A really useful and thought-provoking film about the synergies between militarism and violence. It is in part useful also for the topic on the MEC.

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On representations within popular culture

Q1) Evaluate the claim that popular culture such as videogames and film are fundamentally racist. Consider both the work on content analysis and also that on the messages within popular culture.

Q2) ‘The literature on popular culture and gender is now horribly dated, whilst it used to be true that there were a lack of positive female role models and that popular culture in general was highly damaging to women, this is no longer the case.’ Discuss

On the implications of those representations

Q3) ‘Games, film, TV and music are typical of patriarchal dominance; politically they are highly damaging to women’. Discuss.

Q4) Evaluate the debate on popular culture and race. How true is it to say that popular culture provides highly damaging depictions of race with serious social and political consequences?

Q5) ‘The conclusions of the psychology-based literature on gender, race and popular culture (particularly videogames, film and TV) are clear – there are very real concerns about the impact of popular culture and viewers/players and as such they require firmer regulation’. Discuss. NB the material on videogames and violence will also help here.

Key reading

Rowley, C. (2015) ‘Popular Culture and the Politics of the Visual’ in L.J. Shepherd (ed) Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations (London: Routledge), 2ndedition, pp. 361-74. This was key reading for week 6 so I hope you have read it already! That said, it is a highly accessible introduction which sets out the scope of the ways in which visual artefacts and popular culture can be engaged with and makes specific reference to gender – it may thus be worth re-engaging with this chapter and thinking more intensely on gender as you do so. The framework used is similar to that of Rose in her landmark book, Visual Methodologies(see above (week 6)). Available as an e-book.

Williams, D. et. al (2009) ‘The Virtual Census: Representations of Gender, Race and Age in Video Games’, New media and society. ISSN: 1461-4448, 11(5): 815-34. This offers classic content analysis of a whole raft of games, with findings in tune with those of studies of other popular cultural sectors, namely that white male characters predominate numerically and take on the most significant roles.

Åhäll, L. 2012. ‘The Writing of Heroines: Motherhood and Female Agency in Political Violence.’ Security dialogue. ISSN: 0967-010643(4): 287–303. This is a detailed reading of both a popular cultural artefact (film) and news reporting of women in combat roles, to show how they are framed, particularly in terms of motherhood. It is very interesting and demonstrates how a reading of popular culture can provoke thinking but also expose real-world political phenomenon.

Erigha, M. (2015), ‘Race, Gender, Hollywood: Representation in Cultural Production and Digital Media's Potential for Change’,Sociology Compass ISSN: 1751-9020,9(1): 78–89. Very useful article which sets out that women and minorities are significantly underrepresented within mainstream popular culture (TV and film) in the US.

Garrelts, N. (ed.) (2006) The meaning and culture of Grand theft auto : critical essays ISBN: 0786428228 (softcover : alk. paper); 9780786428229 (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co. Inc.). Lots of detailed reading of this seminal series. See, in particular, the chapters by Leonard (ch.3), Higgin (ch.4). Available as an e-book. 

Dill-Shackleford, K.E. (2015) How fantasy becomes reality : information and entertainment media in everyday life ISBN: 9780190239299 (hardcover); 0190239298 (hardcover)(Oxford: Oxford University Press), Ch. 5 offers a very wide-ranging and highly accessible discussion of the work from within Psychology (broadly defined). It is important to emphasise that scholars such as Karen Dill-Shackleford are overwhelmingly critical of the representations within media and popular culture and also argue forcefully that these negative representations have highly problematic implications.Available as an e-book.

Saleem, M. et al (2017) ‘Exposure to Muslims in Media and Support for Public Policies Harming Muslims’, Communication research. ISSN: 0093-6502, 44(6): 841-69. Please read this alongside the Egenfeldt-Nielson, Smith, and Tosca chapter from last week’s seminar and the Dill-Shackleford chapter above. This is quite a complex piece and typical of work which uses an experimental, large N research design to look at the links between media/popular cultural representations and attitudes. I appreciate that for those of you unfamiliar with psychological work and/or quantitatively informed analysis it will be hard going! That said, if you are interested in skimming the methods then please do so. The section pp.860-end (General discussion) is however highly accessible and sets out the implications of the findings very clearly.

Other reading

NB the ordering of these sources is (as elsewhere) to a sense arbitrary so please look at whatever seems most useful. And (like the topics above) there is masses on popular culture and gender/race such that you will have little problem finding valuable material for your essays. The key thing when you read is to be clear about what you are reading in order to think about. In short, there is important material which ‘reads’ popular culture to reveal gender and race-based trends within that content, there is work which looks at who makes that content, and there is some work which looks at the effects (and sometimes affects) of that content. The disciplinary traditions and form of this work is quite different, contingent on the type of question it is engaging with.

Said, EW (2003) Orientalism(London: Penguin). There are multiple versions of this total landmark text – any of them will do.

Storey, J. (2015) Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction (Abingdon: Routledge), 7thedition. NB the 6thedition is available as an e-book. Ch.7 on gender and sexuality; Ch. 8 on race.

Halberstam, J. (2011) The queer art of failure ISBN: 9780822350453 (pbk.) : £14.99; 9780822350286 (hbk.) : £60.00; 0822350289 (hbk.) : £60.00; 0822350459 (pbk.) : £14.99(Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press). Available as an e-book

Shepherd L.J. (2013) Gender, violence and popular culture : telling stories ISBN: 9780415517959 hardback; 0415517958 hardback; 9780415525916 paperback; 0415525918 paperback; 9780203105030 electronic book. (London: Routledge).  This is a wonderful book which offers a deep reading of the narratives and visuals in a whole raft of TV series (box sets) to demonstrate the parallels with gender, violence and popular culture.

Tasker, Y. and Negra, D. (eds) (2007) Interrogating postfeminism : gender and the politics of popular culture ISBN: 9780822340324 (pbk. : alk. paper); 9780822340140 (cloth : alk. paper); 0822340143 (cloth : alk. paper); 0822340321 (pbk. : alk. paper)(Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press). Available as an e-book.

Trier-Bieniek, A. (ed) (2016) The Beyoncé effect : essays on sexuality, race and feminism ISBN: 9780786499748 (softcover : alk. paper) (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co.). 1 in the library.

Weidhase, N. (2015) ‘Beyonce feminism and the contestation of the black feminist body’ Celebrity studies. ISSN: 1939-2397; 1939-24006(1): 128-31.

Durham, A. (2012) “Check on it”: Beyoncé, southern booty and black femininities in music video.’ Feminist Media Studies ISSN: 1468-0777, 12(1): 35-49.

Grayson, K. (2017) ‘Capturing the multiplicities of resilience through popular geopolitics: Aesthetics and homo resilio in Breaking Bad’, Political geography., 57: 24-33.This is an excellent article which uses a reading of Breaking Bad to map emerging political trends within the USA. The reading is indicative of popular culture as method, designed to provoke and invoke thinking. The focus on the aesthetic subject and its implications will be covered as part of our discussion of visual world politics (week 5-6). There is also an important racial and gendered dimension within this analysis.

Robinson, N. (2016) ‘Militarism and opposition in the living room: The case of military videogames’, Critical Studies on Security4(3): 255-75. Available as open access: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21624887.2015.1130491?src=recsys

Shapiro, M.J. (2016) Politics and time : documenting the event ISBN: 9781509507849 (e-book)(Cambridge: Polity). Like his books, above, this book uses a detailed reading and encounter of popular culture to think through important issues of method, theory and real-world politics.Ch. 3 is particularly useful on race politics.

Clapton, W. and Shepherd, LJ. (2017) ‘Lessons from Westeros: Gender and Power in Game of Thrones’, Politics., 37(1): 5-19. This is an extremely thought-provoking article which makes the case for the value of popular culture to illuminate trends in IR theory, and specifically the way in which gender is frequently marginalised within the discipline. Popular culture is thus shown for its value to teaching and learning but also as critical resource to invoke thinking. We will return to it in week 10.

MacCallum-Stewart, E. (2014) ‘“Take That, Bitches!” Refiguring Lara Croft in Feminist Game Narratives’, Game studies [electronic resource]. ISSN: 1604-7982, 14/2. Available at:http://gamestudies.org/1402/articles/maccallumstewart. Lara Croft is a touchstone character in videogames but the debate on her is emblematic of a more widespread debate in relation to the tensions between hyper sexualisation and empowerment. It is thus of interest regardless of the genre you are interested in. See also Kennedy directly below.

Kennedy, H. (2002) ‘Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? On the Limits of Textual Analysis’, Game studies [electronic resource]., 2(2). Available at: http://www.gamestudies.org/0202/kennedy/

Near, C. (2013) ‘Selling Gender: Associations of Box Art Representation of Female Characters With Sales for Teen- and Mature-rated Video Games’, Sex roles. ISSN: 0360-0025, 68 (2): 252-69. This discusses a large n quantitative study which reveals that games with women predominantly on the box sell poorly compared to those which feature male characters/non-human characters.

Williams, D. et. al (2009) ‘The Virtual Census: Representations of Gender, Race and Age in Video Games’, New media and society. ISSN: 1461-4448, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 815-34. This offers classic content analysis of a whole raft of games. It is typical of much of the content analysis of games more generally in that it looks at static visual representations of games rather than gameplay.

Hill, R.L. (2016) Gender, metal and the media : women fans and the gendered experience of music ISBN: 1137554401 (hardcover); 9781137554406 (hardcover); 9781137554413 (eBook)(London: Palgrave Macmillan). 1 in the library

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Q1) What is soft power? How important is popular culture to a state’s soft power?

Q2) ‘Whilst it used to be true that the USA dominated the global political system in terms of soft power, this is no longer true with the rising power of other states such as China’. Discuss.

Q3) To what extent is it true to say that soft power is more important than hard power?

Q4) ‘Given that we learn so much about other state’s and their people’s through popular culture, its contribution to politics is clearly huge.’ Discuss this through a focus on cultural globalisation and soft power. 

Key reading

Vlassis, A. (2016) ‘Soft Power, Global Governance of Cultural Industries and Rising Powers: The Case of China’,The international journal of cultural policy. ISSN: 1028-6632, 22(4), 481-96. A very useful overview which sets out the literature on soft power and demonstrates the relative position of the USA and China in the field of global film production, distribution and consumption.

Mirrlees, T. (2013) Global entertainment media : between cultural imperialism and cultural globalization ISBN: 9780203122747 (e-book) (Abingdon: Routledge), Ch. 6 covers audiences and their reception of global media. For soft power to ‘succeed’ then the content that is produced has to be receptive in different spaces and places.NB I will distribute a copy of this chapter if the book is not in the library on time.

Yasushi, W.  and McConnell, D.L. (eds) (2008) Soft power superpowers : cultural and national assets of Japan and the United States ISBN: 0765622491; 9780765622495(New York: M.E. Sharpe). There are lots of really useful chapters in this book all of which are in Part 3 ‘Popular Culture’. Much of it centres on Japanese soft power, but there is also material on the USA. Available as an e-book

Boyd-Barrett, O. (2015) Media Imperialism (London: Sage), Ch. 9.A highly useful discussion of soft power beyond the USA, with a specific example of the ‘Korean wave’. The chapter also includes a snappy summary of Nye’s model and a discussion of Chinese state-driven policy within this field, which is herein seen (correctly in my view) as public diplomacy.

Iwabuchi, K. (2015) ‘Pop-Culture Diplomacy in Japan: Soft Power, Nation Branding and the Question of “International Cultural Exchange”’, The international journal of cultural policy. ISSN: 1028-6632, 21(4): 419-32. Another interesting article which focuses more specifically on active strategies by the Japanese government to exploit the benefits from the growing popularity of Japanese popular culture, particularly in Asia.  

Parmar, I. and Cox, M. (eds) (2010) Soft Power and US Foreign Policy : Theoretical, Historical and Contemporary Perspectives ISBN: 9780415492041 (m); 0415492041 (m); 9780415492034; 0415492033; 9780203856499 (ebook); 020385649X (ebook) (Abingdon: Routledge), Ch.1 a short and snappy contribution by Joseph Nye (arguably the creator of the concept of soft power), Ch. 4 offers a very useful summary and critique in relation to the USA; Ch. 12 centres on the ‘myth’ of Chinese soft power.Available as an e-book.

Other Reading

NB there is a lot of material on the theme of soft power, some of it relates to popular culture whilst much of it does not. That said, even the work which is not on popular culture is incredibly useful. If you are undertaking an essay on this topic then you really need to engage with Joseph Nye’s work – he is arguably the originator of the concept. At present there is an explosion of work in this area as US academics, in particular, are demonstrate their anxieties about their relative decline in this area through their scholarship.

Nye has written a vast amount of highly accessible work on soft power. The following are just two highly useful examples.

Nye, JS. (2004) ‘Soft Power and American Foreign Policy’. Political science quarterly. ISSN: 0032-3195, 119(2): 255-70. 

Nye, J. (2004) Soft power : the means to success in world politics ISBN: 1586482254; 9781586483067 (pbk.); 1586483064 (pbk.) (New York: Public Affairs)

Barr, M. and Feklyunia, V. (2015) ‘Special Double Issue on the Soft Power of Hard States’, Politics. ISSN: 0263-3957; 1467-9256, 35(3-4). There are a huge number of interesting articles here, which whilst not specifically focused on popular culture (in the main) do make it clear that the contestation for soft power legitimacy is widespread within the international system. There are articles on China, Russia and Iran (the latter, in particular) is seldom covered.

Zhang, X., Wasserman, H. and Mano, W. (eds.) (2016) China's media and soft power in Africa : promotion and perceptions ISBN: 9781137545657 (hardcover : alk. paper); 9781137539670 (ebook) (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan). Available as an e-book

Voci, P. and Hui, L (eds) (2018) Screening China's soft power ISBN: 9781138669895 (hbk); 113866989X; 9781315617930 (ebk)(Abingdon, Oxon:: Routledge) [1 copy in the library;Copy chapter [Projecting influence : film and the limits of Beijing's soft power / Paul Clark]

Thussu, DK (2013) Communicating India's soft power : Buddha to Bollywood ISBN: 9781137027887 (hardback); 9781137027894 (ebook) (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan). Available as an e-book

Lai, H. and Lu, Y. (eds) (2012) China's soft power and international relations ISBN: 9780415604017 (hbk.) : £80.00; 041560401X (hbk.) : £80.00(London: Routledge). Available as an e-book

Allison, A (2006) Chapter 8: ‘Gotta Catch ’Em All.: The Pokémonization of America (and the World)’ In Millennial monsters : Japanese toys and the global imagination ISBN: 0520245652 (pbk. : alk. paper); 0520221486 (cloth : alk. paper); 9780520245655, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Dissanayake, W. (1994) Colonialism and nationalism in Asian cinema ISBN: 0253208955 (pbk. : alk. paper); 0253318041 (alk. paper) (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). 


Mukherjee, S. (2017) Videogames and Postcolonialism [electronic resource] : Empire Plays Back ISBN: 9783319548227 (Palgrave Pivot)(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). Available as e-book.

Schiller, H.I. (1992) Mass communications and American empire ISBN: 0813314402 (pbk); 0813314399(Boulder, CO: Westview Press)

Kaplan, A. and Pease, D.E. (eds.)
(1993) Cultures of United States imperialism ISBN: 0822314134 (pa); 0822314002 (cl)(Durham, NC : Duke University Press)

Alford, M. (2010)Reel power : Hollywood cinema and American supremacy ISBN: 9780745329826 (pbk.); 0745329837 (hbk.); 9780745329833 (hbk.); 0745329829 (pbk.) (London: Pluto Press).

Su, W. (2016) China's encounter with global Hollywood : cultural policy and the film industry, 1994-2013 ISBN: 9780813167084 (electronic bk.); 0813167086 (electronic bk.); 9780813167077; 0813167078; 9780813167060; 081316706X (Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky). Available as an e-book

Grix, J. and Houlihan, B. (2014) ‘Sports Mega-Events as Part of a Nation's Soft Power Strategy: The Cases of Germany (2006) and the UK (2012)’, British journal of politics & international relations. ISSN: 1369-1481, 16(4): 572-96.

Caffrey, K. (ed) (2011) The Beijing Olympics : promoting China : soft and hard power in global politics ISBN: 9780415593984 (hbk.) : £80.00; 0415593980 (hbk.) : £80.00(London: Routledge).

Grix, J. and Lee, D. (2013) ‘Soft Power, Sports Mega-Events and Emerging States: The Lure of the Politics of Attraction’, Global Society. ISSN: 1360-0826; 1469-798X, 27(4): 521-36.

This list was last updated on 11/04/2018