Cultural Studies

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By Donald E. Pease, Alan Nadel

Author note: Donald E. Pease (Series Editor)

Alan Nadel presents a special research of the increase of yankee postmodernism by means of viewing it as a breakdown in chilly struggle cultural narratives of containment. those narratives, which embodied an American postwar international coverage charged with checking the unfold of Communism, additionally operated, Nadel argues, inside a large spectrum of cultural existence within the usa to comprise atomic secrets and techniques, sexual license, gender roles, nuclear strength, and inventive expression. simply because those narratives have been deployed in motion pictures, books, and magazines at a time while American tradition used to be for the 1st time in a position to dominate worldwide leisure and capitalize on worldwide construction, containment grew to become some of the most generally disseminated and hugely privileged nationwide narratives in history.

Examining a vast sweep of yank tradition, from the paintings of George Kennan to Playboy journal, from the flicks of Doris Day and Walt Disney to these of Cecil B. DeMille and Alfred Hitchcock, from James Bond to Holden Caulfield, Nadel discloses the striking pervasiveness of the containment narrative. Drawing subtly on insights supplied through modern theorists, together with Baudrillard, Foucault, Jameson, Sedgwick, Certeau, and Hayden White, he situates the rhetoric of the chilly warfare inside of a gendered narrative powered by way of the unstated efficiency of the atom. He then strains the breakdown of this discourse of containment via such occasions because the Bay of Pigs invasion and the loose Speech stream at Berkeley, and ties its cave in to the onset of yank postmodernism, typified via works reminiscent of Catch–22 and the guy Who Shot Liberty Valence.

An very important paintings of cultural feedback, Containment tradition hyperlinks atomic strength with postmodernism and postwar politics, and exhibits how a multifarious nationwide coverage can develop into a part of a nation’s cultural schedule and a resource of that means for its citizenry.

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Extra info for Containment Culture: American Narratives, Postmodernism, and the Atomic Age

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Even an out gay person deals daily with interlocutors about whom she doesn't know whether they know or not; it is equally difficult to guess for any given interlocutor whether, if they did know, the knowledge would seem very important. (68) Although the examples Sedgwick gives here find applications or analogues in a wide range of epistemological circumstances, I want to highlight specifically how much this description of the gay closet suggests the informing narrative of the American intelligence community, as it becomes the agency of the policy of containment.

The "American Adam" in this latest covenant thus took possession of the American atom bomb, invoking in the process holy blessings. "Such benedictions," as Boyer notes, "were undoubtedly intended to enfold atomic weapons within America's religious and moral traditions, and, in truth, for some it posed no ethical difficulties: God had given America the secret, and its further development would reflect the divine plan" (211). Boyer's book, which deals almost exclusively with the impact of the atomic bomb in the first five years after Hiroshima, documents a whole language of awe and terror, apocalypse and utopia, internationalism and xenophobia emerging specifically around atomic weaponry and generally about atomic power.

Jeff's girlfriend, Lisa (Grace Kelly), must deviate from her very feminine role as Manhattan socialite to become the dangerous prowler in the suspected murderer's apartment. Jeff balks at her offer to perform this deviant act: it's not appropriate for a woman like her; it's a man's role. Although he can allow her to make aggressive sexual overtures to him or to spend the night with him, there are some acts he feels he cannot allow her to perform. When she persists, he has to follow her actions by putting the telephoto lens of his camera to a deviant use as a telescope.

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