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The renaissance of 'Keep Calm and Carry On'

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Abstract:

In the twenty-first century, 'Keep Calm and Carry On' and other Second World War posters have grown in popularity, particularly in the United Kingdom, but also globally. This article returns us to the original history of 'Keep Calm and Carry On': how it was planned, prepared, created and then abandoned in 1939. We consider why the Second World War remains important in British memories, and how the poster, rediscovered in 2000, has become so important in more recent times of recession.

Keywords: Britain; Keep Calm and Carry On; Second World War; cultural history; poster; propaganda

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/post.2.1.7_1

Affiliations: University of Winchester

Publication date: 2012-06-27

More about this publication?
  • The poster-maker, the pamphleteer and the tagger aim to sway the popular heart and mind through visual public interventions. As new technologies rise, turning the public sphere into a transparent, ubiquitous communications medium and a global marketplace, is the privileged status of the poster doomed or are we seeing it transformed as part of a new wave of visual rhetoric? When the environment starts to become responsive to our very presence and aware of our individual nature what is the role of the 'traditional poster' delivering a classical rhetorical message? This peer-reviewed journal aims to lead the debate. The Poster stands as a vehicle for the ideas of media theorists; scholars of Cultural Studies and Cultural Materialism; for social psychologists of visual communication, for architects and designers of wayfinding schemes; for philosophers of Aesthetics and Politics, Society and Linguistics; for social scientists, anthropologists and ethnographers; for political campaigners and artist activists; for communications researchers and visual communications practitioners.
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