Writing threat and danger
in Writing the war on terrorism
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This chapter examines the way the threat of terrorism facing America since September 11, 2001 has been constructed discursively and the reasons it is so crucial to the prosecution of the 'war on terrorism'. It then examines the discursive construction or 'writing' of threat and danger. Following this, the chapter also examines the reasons it is necessary for officials to construct threat and fear. The 'reality effect' of terrorist violence induces an anxiety that no amount of rationalising can counteract; the visual pictures of violence are far more powerful than any counter-factual statistics could ever be. Although threat and danger is ultimately a matter of perception and perceptions can vary greatly from person to person, it would still be possible to present a range of perspectives and information which would allow a less hysterical assessment of the situation.

Writing the war on terrorism

Language, politics and counter-terrorism

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