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Palgrave Macmillan

American Empire and the Arsenal of Entertainment

Soft Power and Cultural Weaponization

ISBN 9781137387257
Publication Date March 2014
Formats Hardcover Paperback Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The concept of 'Soft Power' is used to discuss how culture can assert dominance within international relations, but what if entertainment could be used as a weapon itself? Despite recent upheavals like the worldwide financial meltdown and the Arab Spring, organized global resistance to American power remains fragmented. Advanced communications technologies have played an essential role in the rise and persistence of American power, and in many respects, has been a 'weapon' against rejection of American influence abroad. Armed with print media, theme parks, radio and television broadcasts, and now online platforms and social networking, American Empire in the twenty-first century has evolved with technological breakthroughs and must be understood through these new sources of power.

Eric M. Fattor studies the role of information and communications technologies in international political systems. He has previously taught international politics and American foreign policy at Hendrix College, the University of Colorado, and Colorado State University, USA.

1. Introduction: The Rise of a Global Communications Capability and the Weaponizing of Entertainment

2. Legitimacy Through Popular Entertainment: Bringing the British Empire to Life (1815-1945)

3. Overcoming Isolationism: Exceptionalism, Film and the Rise of American Empire (1898-1945)

4. Creating an Informal Empire: Liberalism, Broadcasting, and the Maturity of American Empire (1945-1968)

5. Networking Neoliberalism: High Finance, Media Convergence, and the Crisis of American Empire (1968-1989)

6. Conclusion: America Overexposed? The Triumph of the American Empire and the Spectacle of Resistance (1989-2008)


"With its richly detailed historical analysis, American Empire and the Arsenal of Entertainment weaves a compelling narrative demonstrating that the medium of entertainment has at times been just as important to the success of the American imperial project as the deployment of raw material capability or global institution-building. Fattor's exhaustive examination of the period of modern empire from 1815 to the present points to thought-provoking questions about the future of informal American empire. Anyone interested in the past and future of American power, especially students and scholars of empire and critical International Relations theory, will welcome this timely and creative book."—Daniel J. Whelan, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations, Hendrix College, USA
"Fattor's American Empire and the Arsenal of Entertainment gives its readers the theoretical tools to see those elements of US Foreign policy that focus on the domination of others. Throughout this book Fattor illustrates the linkages between theory and practice, deftly weaving sophisticated analysis with clear empirical examples. Ultimately, Fattor has written an outstanding book of applied critical international relations theory that will remain relevant for anyone who wants to know how the American Empire was constructed. In an age marked by the imperial monopoly on violence, Fattor offers both insight into the past and into the possible sources of resistance and the revitalization of emancipatory politics."—Amentahru Wahlrab, Senior Lecturer of Political Science, University of Texas at Tyler, USA
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