World politics as realpolitik (in House of Cards and Game of Thrones)
in Fictional television and American Politics
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This chapter explores the theme of realpolitik, as the prioritization of the practical in the pursuit of power, over the moral or ideological. First, it recaps what is at stake for fictional television and world politics in their interlocking: namely, the role that popular culture plays in enabling, shaping, and delimiting political possibility. The chapter reminds readers that fictional television can close down as well as open up space for thinking and acting otherwise in world politics; fictional television can amplify as well as contest dominant discourses. Then, the chapter explores House of Cards and Game of Thrones in turn, asking how it is that each of the shows constructs a particular world politics and to what effect. On this final point, it returns to the initial discussion to consider whether the shows are encoded and decoded as reinforcements of dominant discourses, or whether they are 'read' as cautionary tales.

Fictional television and American Politics

From 9/11 to Donald Trump


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