National Security Culture: Gender, Race and Class in the Production of Imperial Citizenship

Deepa Kumar


This article is about how national security culture sets out, in raced, gendered, and classed terms, to prepare the U.S. public to take up their role as citizens of empire. The cultural imagination of national security, I argue, is shaped both by the national security state and the media industry. Drawing on archival material, I offer a contextual analysis of key national security visual texts in two periods—the early Cold War era and the Obama phase of the War on Terror. A comparative analysis of the two periods shows that while Cold War practices inform the War on Terror, there are also discontinuities. A key difference is the inclusion of women and people of color within War on Terror imperial citizenship, inflected by the logic of a neoliberal form of feminism and multiculturalism. I argue that such inclusion is not positive and urge scholars to combine an intersectional analysis of identity with a structural critique of neoliberal imperialism.


Cold War, War on Terror, gender, race, class , United States, national security culture, media, multiculturalism, feminism, empire, intersectionality, neoliberalism

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