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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Marcus Power

Crampton, A. & Power, M. (2005). Frames of reference on the geopolitical stage: Saving Private Ryan and the Second World War/Second Gulf War intertext'. Geopolitics 10(2): 244-265.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

As sequels go, Gulf War II: Unfinished Business was a popular and omnipotent movie spectacle. The very process of naming the conflict implied a notion of watching a second episode and encountering the war from afar, whilst numerous media commentators likened their experience of the war to that of watching a movie, or even a movie of a movie. In turn political leaders from the ‘coalition of the willing’ were regularly able to call upon a stock of filmic cultural reference points in their representations of unfolding events in the Gulf. With Hollywood in a long-established role as geopolitician and film as a key geopolitical site, the latest conditions of conflict in the theatre of international politics could be (re)staged for the viewing American public. These events raise some important issues about the production of subject positions through cinema and highlight some of the ways in which film is cast in the role of director on the world geopolitical stage, writing the scripts of global politics as theatre. In the staging of the Second Gulf War and its multiple plots and dramas we argue here that there was an important intertext with the Second World War and its various associations with virtue. We focus in particular upon the figure of the geopolitician co-ordinating the production of the stage of international politics for a viewing subject and extend this into an analysis of how Hollywood narrates contemporary geopolitical space. Allied to this is a concern to explore how audiences make sense and meaning of the films they watch and the conflicts represented therein.