The Politics of Protest and US Foreign Policy: Performative Construction of the War on Terror (War, Politics and Experience)
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This book offers a study of post-9/11 anti-war organizations in the United States and their role in domestic foreign policy debates.
The moment of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been much cited in political and cultural scholarship and much attention has been paid to the promotion of "War on Terror" policies. The social mechanisms behind the circumscription and regulation of national ideals attracted critical analyses from scholars across disciplines; yet the prevalence of scholarly concern with the negative political devices of the Bush Administration at times seemed to risk reproducing the hierarchies of power that underpinned the very issue of concern, and even the War on Terror itself.
By contrast, this book celebrates the political acts of individuals committed to changing the dominant politics of the Bush era. Drawing on participant observation and interviews with the leaders of prominent anti-war organizations including Code Pink and Iraq Veterans Against the War, the book employs Performance Theory to evaluate the capacity of protest to effect lasting social change. In addition to highlighting an often overlooked aspect of foreign policy formation, this volume demonstrates that Performance Studies can be used as innovative approach to Politics and IR.
This book will be of much interest to students of US politics and foreign policy, theatre studies, cultural studies, and critical security and international relations.
experimented with more daring uses of public space. While the traditional use of public buildings, city streets and the National Mall are still central to enactments of protest and civil disobedience, activists have creatively made use of a wider range of locations to broadcast their political messages. Furthermore, some unique ways of using those spaces have resulted in greater impact on public audiences. 24 Setting Delimited stages Despite these innovations, I want to begin this
practical performative choices regarding time and duration. With reference to specific anti- war actions I will explore varying approaches to performance time – the duration and scheduling of political events, both mainstream and marginal. Following this I will discuss some examples of the representation of time and history in dominant War on Terror performatives, and consider the ways that Code Pink and Iraq Veterans Against the War attempt to redefine public associations related to particular
altering the current time-space with overlaps from a previous age. Time 43 Duration and chronology Beyond the categories of performance time, activists may also make use of particular theatrical devices related to the pacing of performance. Choices made about duration and rapidity of anti-war actions can have a profound impact on public viewers. Particularly in the twentieth century, Western theatre practitioners began experimenting with the traditional elapse of time within performance,
true, however, that audiences would find this largely unacceptable and this might account for the lack of such tactics in most anti-war actions. It therefore seems that the most effective performances in this regard will continue to be those that complicate the identities of soldiers and veterans, and that insist on the specificity of history and the possibility of alternative futures. Conclusion In this chapter, I have introduced some of the most relevant Performance Studies theories relating
trials that subsequently ensued, Watada portrayed a complex character capable of embracing some traditional elements while rejecting others. One of his statements about personal epiphanies provides considerable insight into potential public response: I believe the only real God-given right we have is the freedom to choose, and when we take that away from ourselves, then we put ourselves in an invisible prison that nobody else imposes on us except for ourselves. When you tell yourself again that