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Durham University

Department of English Studies


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Publication details for Professor James Smith

Smith, James (2016). “How Safe Do You Feel?” James Bond, Skyfall and the Politics of the Secret Agent in an Age of Ubiquitous Threat. College Literature 43(1): 145-172.

Author(s) from Durham


When examining the process of the banalization of warfare, the history of the modern state intelligence apparatus provides one of the most significant examples of such a transition. This article, through analysis of the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, looks at how the world’s most successful spy franchise has adapted to this contemporary paradigm of intelligence and cyber-terrorism. Through examining how Skyfall engages with issues such as the threats posed by the ubiquity of the internet, the accountability of intelligence services in the wake of the War on Terror, and the continued ability of fictional works to depict conflict and the intelligence apparatus in the modern world, this essay argues that Skyfall attempts a significant cultural intervention into perceptions of the contemporary secret state, offering a staunch defense of Western intelligence services while contesting the skeptical visions that have come to dominate recent spy narratives.

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