Waging Terror: The Geopolitics of the Real

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Against the background of the broad intellectual response to the events of 9/11, the paper examines the complicity of the media in the West's so-called War on Terror. Rejecting erroneous conceptions of a conspiratorial state control of the media (and consequent distortion of the picture of a given reality), the paper focuses primarily on the form of the media: its role in distorting the nature of reality itself. By elucidating problems with the kind of media analysis that portrays the media as a propaganda machine, the significance of the mediasphere itself is highlighted. The paper considers the media's role in promulgating the myth of antagonistic collective identities (‘Us’ vs. ‘Them’); in promoting a desire that subjugates the individual to the social formations that feed off it; in sustaining a range of fundamentalisms; and in characterizing terrorism as Evil incarnate. The paper thus offers a sympathetic reassessment of Baudrillard's consistent attempt to engage with the geopolitics of the real, measured against a contrasting range of responses from Badiou, Latour, Žižek, and others.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-314
Number of pages16
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006