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Culture, Crisis and America's War on Terror by Stuart (University of Birmingham) Croft


Culture, Crisis and America's War on Terror by Stuart (University of Birmingham) Croft

Since the infamous events of 9/11, the fear of terrorism and the determination to strike back against it has become a topic of enormous public debate. The 'war on terror' discourse has developed not only through American politics but via other channels including the media, the church, music, novels, films and television, and therefore permeates many aspects of American life. Stuart Croft suggests that the process of this production of knowledge has created a very particular form of common sense which shapes relationships, jokes and even forms of tattoos. Understanding how a social process of crisis can be mapped out and how that process creates assumptions allows policy-making in America's war on terror to be examined from new perspectives. Using IR approaches together with insights from cultural studies, this book develops a dynamic model of crisis which seeks to understand the war on terror as a cultural phenomenon.


'Stuart Croft has admirably addressed how the 'objective'
military threats, like other social phenomena, are the product of a reality

-constructing social dialogue ... an essential read for those who want to understand the emergence, construction, and evolution of national security policies in the US and elsewhere.
Professor Chris C. Demchak, University of Arizona

'Stuart Croft offers here a brilliant discussion of America's efforts to narrate, and make sense of, the 9/11 terror attacks. He mines a rich seam of popular and elite discourse, showing how narratives of 9/11 have reflected and reinforced pre-existing American self-images. Croft's lively style and command of his material make this book a joy to read.'
Professor John Dumbrell, University of Leicester

'Culture, Crisis and America's War on Terror is simply the most comprehensive and thought-provoking analysis of the political-cultural discourse of the war on terror to date. Combining powerful theoretical insights with an ambitious and sweeping survey of American cultural production since the World Trade Center attacks, Stuart Croft has crafted an eloquent and provocative essay on the relationship between culture, national identity and international politics. His unique focus on the cultural dimensions of the September 11 foundational myth does much to enliven our understanding of contemporary US foreign policy and fills an increasingly important gap in the study of international relations and security studies. This book deserves the widest possible audience.'
Dr Richard Jackson, Department of Politics, Manchester University and author of Writing the War on Terrorism: Language

, Politics and Counterterrorism (2005) '... an innovative and essential guide to the politics of American foreign policy today.
Professor Michael C. Williams, Department of International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth

'Stuart Croft has written a first rate book, which is based on careful scholarship and reasoned argument. This strikes me as one of the most important books published in the aftermath of 9/11. It shows in great detail how political elites and popular commentators engaged in a discourse, which depicted the United States as a victim of an unprovoked attack. This discourse had really geopolitical consequences. As a 'victim', the Bush administration has 'Americanised'
this extraordinary event and choose to launch a war on terror which will have lasting and deeply damaging consequences for the United States. We should be thankful that critical scholars such as Croft are prepared to tease out those consequences

Professor Klaus Dodds, Professor of Geopolitics, Royal Holloway, University of London

'This book is a brilliant analysis of the cultural and political preconceptions and assumptions out of which the United States fashioned the narrative of a global war against terror in response to the trauma of the attacks on the American mainland on 11 September 2001. ... It is an immensely detailed and empirically rich study that through the use of illuminating examples entertains as well as informs.'
Professor Adrian Guelke, Queen

's University Belfast 'In the rapidly burgeoning academic literature on 9/11 and the 'war on terror', Stuart Croft's latest book stands out as an important contribution to the contemporary debate. Croft's aim is to critically analyse the discourse that emerged from the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 and its constitutive role in shaping the American response to the threat of international terrorism. As a political realist, this reviewer does not share the epistemological and ontological assumptions underpinning the analysis, and approached this book with considerable scepticism. However, the analysis stands out from other social constructivist work in two important respects: first, Croft presents a sophisticated and coherently articulated theoretical framework, and second, his analysis is substantiated by detailed empirical analysis. It is also written with considerable style and elegance, making it both a pleasure to read and intellectually challenging. The result is a book of outstanding intellectual merit, which will stand as a central point of reference in the academic debate on America and the war on terror.'
Professor Adrian Hyde

-Price, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester 'Culture, Crisis and America's War on Terror by Stuart Croft is undoubtedly one of the most exciting contributions not only to the literature on 9/11 but also on security studies in general. We perhaps all know, at intuitive level at least, that security and culture might have something to do with each other, but a scholarly demonstration of such connection is an extremely challenging exercise. In this book, Croft did this with an outstanding success. Referring to an overwhelming number of examples, he illustrates how security discourse and popular culture are mutually constructed in the United States. He also provides us with a very sophisticated model of how security narratives emerged, developed and created further narratives. A must-read for anyone who is seeking for a very original and eye-opening analysis of American politics, society and security.
Dr Atsuko Higashino, Senior Lecturer, Hiroshima City University, Japan

'... Stuart Croft has done nothing less than produce the definitive cultural history of America's response to 9/11. ... It is a big, bold, brassy take on post 9/11 America. Croft looks beyond policy debate and elite opinion to understand how American civil society and ordinary Americans felt and reacted to the worst attack against the homeland since Pearl Harbour. ... Croft's book is the essential guide to how this happened.'


About the Author

Stuart Croft is Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of Security Studies Today (with Terry Terriff, Lucy James and Patrick Morgan, 1999), The Enlargement of Europe (with John Redmond, G. Wyn Rees and Mark Webber, 1999) and Strategies of Arms Control (1996).

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 2006


Stuart (University of Birmingham) Croft

More books by Stuart (University of Birmingham) Croft
Author 'Like for Like'


Cambridge University Press


310 pages


International relations
Regional studies



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