‘War talk’ engendering terror: race, gender and representation in Canadian print media

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Discourses of war centre on the objectification of the enemy and utilize Manichean oppositions to promote an explanation of events which make ‘common sense’ (Cooke and Woollacott 1993). In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, with the collapse of the World Trade Center towers in New York City, those discourses assumed a heightened Orientalist mantle, coloured by the geographic, religious and cultural nature of the perceived enemy. In this short essay, I examine how the news media, and in particular, print media, covered the events of September 11, 2001.1 My focus is on the Canadian print media - The Gazette, a Montreal English daily, and The Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s two national papers. Both these papers play a pivotal role in shaping the ‘imagined community’ (Anderson 1983) that is Quebec and Canada, but more importantly, both are highly influential in shaping policy towards immigrants and cultural minority groups in the provincial and national landscape (Fleras and Kunz 2001). The analysis that follows is undoubtedly influenced by my standpoint (Durham 1998), as a woman, a Canadian of immigrant origins and as Muslim - a religious affiliation rendered salient because of its shared character with that of the ‘enemy’. In the sections that follow, I pay particular attention to the issue of gender - how it underpins, informs and shapes the discourses of war and how in so doing, it engenders terror such that the latter assumes a specific type of fear with differential repercussions for women and men.

Keywords: Canadian print media; Gender; Quebec; Race; War

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/macp.1.1.15/3

Affiliations: Concordia University

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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