The War on Terror Narrative: Discourse and Intertextuality in the Construction and Contestation of Sociopolitical Reality

ISBN : 9780199759583

Adam Hodges
192 Pages
160 x 232 mm
Pub date
May 2011
Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics
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The War on Terror Narrative analyzes three types of data-presidential speeches, U.S. media discourse, and focus group interviews-to provide a longitudinal and holistic study of the formation, circulation, and contestation of the Bush administration's narrative about the "war on terror." The narrative sustains, in Foucault's terms, a "regime of truth" by placing boundaries around what can meaningfully be said and understood about the subject. Adam Hodges illustrates that even as social actors resist the narrative and the policy it entails, they appropriate its language to be heard and understood. While this often works to strengthen the narrative, discourse is inevitably reshaped as it enters into new contexts. This recontextualization allows for the introduction of new meanings, and therein lies the potential for resistance and social transformation. Hodges argues that applying ideas on intertextuality to the analysis of political discourse is central to understanding the way micro-level discursive action contributes to macro-level cultural narratives like the Bush "War on Terror" narrative.


Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. The Characterization of 9/11 and America's Response to Terrorism
Chapter 3. The Narrative's Part-Whole Textual Interdependence
Chapter 4. The Construction of Al Qaeda and Iraq as Linked Antagonists
Chapter 5. Intertextual Series: Reproduction and Resistance in the Media
Chapter 6. Talking Politics: The Narrative's Reception among College Students
Chapter 7. Whose Vietnam?: Discursive Competition over the Vietnam Analogy
Chapter 8. Conclusion
Appendix A. Corpus of Presidential Speeches
Appendix B. Transcription Conventions for Presidential Speeches
Appendix C. Transcription Conventions for Focus Group Interviews
Media Discourse Data

About the author: 

Adam Hodges is Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Carnegie Mellon University.

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