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Ballistic missile defense and articulation theory: An analysis of technology using a cultural studies approach

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In this paper, I use articulation theory to examine the political discourse which surrounds the Bush Administration's proposed ballistic missile defense shield. I argue that there are three central articulations used by the Bush Administration to garner public support for the ballistic missile defense shield. They are: 1) the articulation of missile defense with national security; 2) the unity formed out of terrorism and the threat of a missile attack by rogue states; and 3) the articulation of missile defense with technological inevitability and progress. I illustrate how these dominant articulations discursively serve to garner support for the proposed shield by setting the parameters around which discussions of missile defense can take place. My primary argument is that the discursive unities made by the Bush Administration out of such elements as terrorism, technology, progress, and capitalism functions to perpetuate and justify a larger American project of exceptionalism, unilateralism, and military hegemony.
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Keywords: ARTICULATION THEORY; BUSH ADMINISTRATION; CULTURAL STUDIES; MISSILE DEFENSE; TERRORISM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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