Discursive Constructions of Global War and Terror
In this chapter, I examine the dialogic connections involved in the global interchange of ideas about terrorism and the ‘war on terror.’ Discourse moves across national boundaries in a manner that shapes global relations and actions, and reshapes the dialogue that takes place within local contexts. To explore these processes, I discuss three contexts in detail. In the first, I examine recent work by Zala Volcic and Karmen Erjavec on the appropriation of the Bush administration’s ‘war on terror’ discourse by Serbian intellectuals (Volcic and Erjavec 2007, Erjavec and Volcic 2007). These young Serbs incorporate this discourse into their own project of imagining and shaping contemporary war and politics, as well as geography and history. The second context discusses research by Becky Schulthies and Aomar Boum on the recontextualization of terrorism discourses on Al-Jazeera (Schulthies and Boum 2007). Their study underscores both the importance of discourse emanating from Washington and how Middle Eastern commentators rework that language in light of their own cultural assumptions. For the third context, I provide my own analysis of the dialogic connections found in George W. Bush’s speeches where he uses reported speech frames to recontextualize the words of Osama bin Laden as part of his discursive construction of the ‘enemy’ in the ‘war on terror.’ As Bush provides his own preferred reading of bin Laden’s words, he reshapes these words in a way that works to justify his administration’s ‘war on terror’ and war in Iraq. Before exploring each of these contexts, however, I first begin with a theoretical overview of the Bakhtinian concept of dialogism contextualized within the framework of global cultural flows.
Adam Hodges. "Discursive Constructions of Global War and Terror" Handbook of Language and Globalization. Ed. Nikolas Coupland. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. 305-322.