Who are You Rooting for? Transnationalism, the World Cup, and War
PEDAGOGIES OF THE GLOBAL: KNOWLEDGE IN THE HUMAN INTEREST, Arif Dirlik, ed., Paradigm Press, 2006
30 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2006
This chapter begins with the transnational subject and the question of identity, then shifts to the U.S. project of domestic racialization, especially as experienced by marginal subjects during wartime as they try to find a place, a rootedness that is both here and there, from which to remember and to engage in critique.
War, perhaps more than anything else, forces a nation's subjects to re-negotiate their relationship to the nation. When the United States engages in war, it also engages in a process of deepening the Americanization of its subjects. It does this by calling upon its subjects to band together collectively to do their patriotic duty against a common enemy. By performing patriotic gestures, its subjects feel a comradeship that consolidates this imagined community that is America. Benedict Anderson writes that it is this feeling of comradeship that has made millions of people willingly die for their nation.
When the United States engages in war, its marginal citizens and subjects often find themselves in an awkward position. When you are the victims of state-sponsored neglect, discrimination, and terror, how do you respond when that very state calls upon you to do your duty?
This chapter takes up this question and examines the way that the state continues the project of domestic racialization simultaneously with its outwardly directed war efforts. The chapter focuses on iconic images of war, such as the flag-raising at Iwo Jima, that help to construct an inclusive national allegory of Americanness despite the contradiction presented by the internment of Japanese Americans. It then shifts to examine the controversy over a proposed monument to the fallen firefighters at the World Trade Center Towers. It examines popular culture, history, and law to reveal the ways in which symbolic inclusion and exclusion are underwritten by law.
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