Throughout the Cold War era, Western governments were generally clear about who their enemies were and whom they could count on as allies. One of the most common ideas about post-Cold War conflicts is that the collapse of communism unleashed pent-up tensions. Understandings of the media's role in post-Cold War conflicts and interventions range from the view that news reporting has the power to shape foreign policy, through to the argument that it serves as a conduit for official misinformation and spin. This chapter outlines a number of key debates which have been influential in shaping how the post-Cold War world has been understood, before going on to examine the role played by the news media. It is clear from the public debate surrounding the conflict with Iraq in 2003 that the legitimacy of intervention remains a crucial and controversial issue. Finally, the chapter presents an outline of this book.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.