Fictional television and American politics

From 9/11 to Donald Trump

By Jack Holland

Fictional television and American politics


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3423-3
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £18.99
  • Published Date: July 2019
  • BIC Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, Society & social sciences / Comparative politics, Society & social sciences / International relations, The arts / Television, Politics, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General, PERFORMING ARTS / Television / General


We live in a golden age of fictional television, while our politics has never been so controversial. This book explores that relationship, asking what it is that some of America's most popular TV shows have to say about its politics.

Perhaps, like the author, you have gasped at Game of Thrones and balked at Breaking Bad. This book illustrates how, far from being outside of politics, shows such as these are deeply political, helping to fill our world with meaning. To this end, the book analyses Game of Thrones, House of Cards, The West Wing, Homeland, 24, Veep, The Wire, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. These are all politically consequential shows that shape how we feel and think about world politics.


List of abbreviations
Part I: Watching television
1 America and the screen
2 Screening America under Bush, Obama, and Trump
3 Drawing lines: world politics and popular culture
4 Analysing fictional television
Part II: Politics and television
5 World politics as realpolitik (in House of Cards and Game of Thrones)
6 Constructing counter-terrorism (in Homeland, 24, and The West Wing)
7 Imagining the president (in The West Wing, 24, and Veep)
Part III: Television and our political world
8 Ethics and inequality (in The Wire)
9 Being human in a world of zombies (in The Walking Dead)
10 The personal is political (in Breaking Bad)


Jack Holland is Associate Professor in International Security at the University of Leeds

Fictional television and American politics

By Jack Holland

Paperback £18.99 / $27.95

Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

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