Militarism, Security, and War: The Politics of Contemporary Hollywood Superheroes
Crowe, Lori Ann
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In the fields of political science and international relations, engagement with popular culture has been deemed predominantly un-important and irrelevant as an area of study. This dissertation interrogates one of the most popular cultural icons of the early 21st century, the fictional Hollywood superhero, and asks what it does for us to take seriously that which is often deemed frivolous entertainment. Understanding the superhero as a political entity in and of itself, this project reveals the mutually constitutive relationship between its production, consumption and reproduction and particular ideologies around militarism, security and war. Acknowledging the complexities of superhero characters, narratives, and aesthetics such as subversive and contested elements, this project reveals superheroes as potential sites of political and ideological reflection, articulation, constitution, and transgression. This project demonstrates that a pop cultural/aesthetic approach to IR can enable critical practices that contribute to complicating and enhancing our understandings of war and politics.