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Image warfare in the war on terror: Image munitions and the continuation of war and politics by other means. /

Swansea University Author: Roger, Nathan Philip

Abstract

This thesis argues that the image as circulated within society has changed from what is broadly conceived of as a mass media society to that of an information society or a rhizomatic condition. This discontinuity is linked to changes that have taken place both within technology and the 'communi...

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Published: 2010
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa42350
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Abstract: This thesis argues that the image as circulated within society has changed from what is broadly conceived of as a mass media society to that of an information society or a rhizomatic condition. This discontinuity is linked to changes that have taken place both within technology and the 'communications systems' that make up the media. This is theorized as a move from the 'mobilization of images' to the 'weaponization of images' and it takes the following form: the mobilization of images is connected to a twentieth century notion of propaganda and the rise of a mass society; whereas the weaponizing of images is understood as emerging through a networked/rhizomatic society connected with new media. It has also resulted in a paradigm shift from techno-war to image warfare. More specifically, this thesis is about exploring how American and British governments and militaries are failing to manage image warfare because they are operating with an outdated understanding that it is possible to 'control' images; whereas Al Qaeda appears to be understanding image warfare better. What I seek to show in this thesis is the disjuncture between this outdated idea of 'controlling' images (which Western governments and media continue to use) and a more dispersed or deterritorialized idea about how images operate in a rhizomatic condition. I explore this via my three conceptual terms: 'image munitions', 'counter-image munitions', 'remediation battles', with specific reference to the war on terror and specifically through four thematic case studies - political communications, suicides, executions and abuses - which allow exploration of different parts of this new theatre of war. In the conclusion I reflect on the implications of this analysis for understandings of contemporary and future warfare.
Keywords: Mass communication.;Military studies.
College: College of Arts and Humanities