Ever-Changing Political Narratives? the War on Terror As Carrier for Political Debate in the USA and Austria from 2001 to 2011.

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 16 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Dimitri PRANDNER, University of Salzburg / University of Linz, Austria
The War on Terror was one of the core issues that made an increasing gap in political ideology and positioning between many European in the early years of the 21st century evident, yet there were several political and economic developments that influenced the de- and realignment of the European and US American narrations of the War on Terror, e.g. the European endorsement of the election of Barrack Obama as US president or the social upheavals in the middle east in early 2011.

The presentation shall discuss this process and provide insight into how it is framed in the US media – represented by the opinion leading New York Times (n=1983) – and the Austrian Die Presse and Der Standard (n=1387) – national quality newspapers with close ties to the political sphere – from 2001 to 2011 via a Mayring inspired qualitative content analysis.

Illustrating the volatility in issues associated with the War on Terror and showing which political issues were attached to the War on Terror in two countries with very different geopolitical positioning and involvement in the conflict makes it evident that the War on Terror can be seen as more than only an ongoing conflict. Much more it is a decisive societal fault line that structures discussions about political and societal values and created the chance to re-evaluate the meaning bestowed upon certain terms like security, democracy and belonging.

Because of this it can be argued that War on Terror will continue to be used as a term describing an expanding series of interrelated conflicts, developments and political struggles while it has established itself as a suitable cultural figure to make ever changing societal values tangible for societal discussion and cannot be seen as a conflict that can be resolved until the cultural figure loses its societal relevance.