Writing the war on terrorism

Language, politics and counter-terrorism

By Richard Jackson

Writing the war on terrorism

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7121-8
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: March 2005
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / International relations, Society & social sciences / Terrorism, armed struggle, Literature & literary studies / Prose: non-fiction, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Essays, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Economy, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Terrorism, International relations, Political science & theory, Politics
  • Series: New Approaches to Conflict Analysis


'Writing the war on terrorism' examines the public language of the war on terrorism, and the way that rhetoric has been used to justify the global counter-terrorism offensive as a response to 9/11. It discusses how language has been used to deliberately manipulate public anxiety about terrorist threats to gain support for military action, and how the abuse of Iraqi prisoners has been normalised through rhetoric and practice. .

It explains how the war on terrorism has been reproduced and amplified by key social actors and how it has become the dominant political narrative in America today, enjoying widespread bipartisan and popular support. The author argues that the normalisation and institutionalisation of the administration's current counter-terrorism approach is damaging to society's ethical values and to democratic political participation.

Lying at the intersection of International Relations, American politics, terrorism studies, discourse analysis, communication studies and cultural studies, this book will have genuine interdisciplinary appeal.


Introduction: Language and politics
1. Analysing the language of counter-terrorism
2. Writing September 11, 2001
3. Writing identity: Evil terrorists and good Americans
4. Writing threat and danger
5. Writing the good (new) war on terrorism
6. Language and power: Reproducing the discourse
Conclusion: Politics, violence and resistance
Final thoughts
Appendix: Official texts


Richard Jackson is Reader in International Politics at the University of Aberystwyth

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