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Media, power and performativity

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The contemporary moment is one of profound risk, and profound import. We have come to live in a unipolar world, where one remaining superpower has the capacity to wield enormous wealth and military force simultaneously, and to penetrate the material and symbolic spaces of the greater part of the globe, without as yet effective challenge. The hallmark of the contemporary global order, under the flagship of the American imperium, is the conjuncture of these elements with the will to intervene and the claim to right, all waved under the banner of freedom and human prosperity, yet actually embedded in a matrix of capitalist accumulation and an insatiable search for profit by corporate conglomerates. There is perhaps a new/old imperial story here. Yet, within the present landscape, the power to mediate knowledge and meaning, to shape imaginaries and provide authoritative frames for affect and opinion, especially within the centres and the sites of influence of capitalist global flows, becomes critical. The peril of the moment resides precisely in the nature of the confluence between the cultural and the political: between mediated cultural production now itself corporatized and globally disseminated, and militarized politics, both articulations of different forms of power, now effectively interlocking through the deployment of the self-same technological advances, and converging to press specific clusters of corporate and state interests.

Keywords: Arab world; Instruments of power; Media assumption; imperial and colonial policy; performativity; terrorism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Media Centre Director of Research, Zayed University, UAE

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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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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