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American statecraft for a global digital age: warfare, diplomacy and culture in a segregated world

El-Khairy, Omar A. (2012) American statecraft for a global digital age: warfare, diplomacy and culture in a segregated world. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The aim of this thesis is to investigate how American power is adapting to a changing post- Cold War global landscape. It is commonly accepted that many of the most visible cultural expressions of globalisation are American. However, contemporary accounts have proven inadequate in assessing how such forces have helped provide the infrastructure for America’s global dominance. With growing debate over the decline of American influence, the thesis intends to address how American statecraft is attempting to redefine itself for a digital age. With the accelerated transmission of information, images and sounds, nation-states are gradually losing the ability to either dictate their official narrative or control their global image. The new info-war that lies at the heart of contemporary American statecraft thus involves the wholesale integration of struggles over information, technology, communication and culture into the conflict itself. The thesis, therefore, investigates how American military and diplomatic efforts are both shaping and being reshaped by modern techno-culture. The thesis pieces together a contemporary genealogy of American cultural diplomacy in the Middle East from the Cold War through to the “war on terror”. This genealogy pays particular attention to both the continued hold of civilisationist discourses and the shifting question of race in American foreign policy – from the instrumentalisation of jazz at the height of the ideological antagonism of the Cold War, to rap music as a soundtrack to American Empire. The attention paid to African American culture aims to highlight the ways in which the radical traditions of struggle for freedom from the underside of the American Empire are transforming our world today for both better and worse. The thesis concludes by contextualising the evolving relationship between consumption, technology, communication and (national) security, and situating the Occupied Palestinian Territories within these global capital and cultural flows. This takes the form of an analysis of the multiple local and international socio-economic initiatives taking hold in the West Bank – from governmental institutions and NGOs, to the business sector and consumer industries – and their particular attempts at reshaping Palestinian public spheres.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © Omar El-Khairy
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Gilroy, Paul

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