The Theater of Operations National Security Affect from the Cold War to the War on Terror joseph masco How did the most powerful nation on
THE THEATER OF OPERATIONS
earth come to embrace terror as the organizing principle of its security policy? In The Theater of Operations, Joseph Masco locates the origins of the presentday U.S. counterterrorism apparatus in the Cold War’s “balance of terror.” He shows how, after the attacks of 9/11, the U.S. Global War on Terror mobilized a wide range of affective, conceptual,
“What Joseph Masco shows us in The Theater of Operations
and institutional resources established
is an entire affective structure—the management of anxiety,
during the Cold War to enable a new
resilience, steadfastness, sacrifice—that is demanded of every
planetary theater of operations. Tracing NATIONAL SECURITY AFFECT FROM THE COLD WAR TO THE WAR ON TERROR
Joseph Masco is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Nuclear Borderlands: The Manhattan Project in Post–Cold War New Mexico, winner of the J. I. Staley Prize from the School for Advanced Research and the Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for the Social Studies of Science.
how specific aspects of emotional management, existential danger, state
secrecy, and threat awareness have evolved as core aspects of the American
citizen. Alert to liquid containers above 2.4 ounces, hypervigilant about abandoned bags, suspicious of loitering, and prepared for the detonation of a thermonuclear weapon— we learn to live our lives aware of tiny and apocalyptic things. With an anthropologist’s eye long attuned to life in the para-
social contract, he draws on archival, media, and ethnographic resources to
wartime state, Masco is the perfect guide to the theater of
offer a new portrait of American national security culture. Undemocratic and
the security state.”—PETER GALISON , author of Einstein’s
unrelenting, this counterterror state prioritizes speculative practices over facts,
Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps: Empires of Time
and ignores everyday forms of violence across climate, capital, and health in an unprecedented effort to anticipate and eliminate terror threats—real, imagined, and emergent.
“Joseph Masco’s brilliance lies in his ability to make visible the complex affective and discursive technologies that emerged from the long history of the Cold War, and to illuminate their effects on our everyday perceptions of security and harm. This much-anticipated book will be read widely in cultural anthropology and cultural studies. It is beautifully written and argued. That one leaves The Theater of Operations a bit paranoid is a tribute to Masco’s rhetorical skill.”—ELIZABETH A. POVINELLI, author of Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism
A N T H R O P O L O GY/A M E R I C A N S T U D I E S/C U LT U R A L S T U D I E S
November 288 pages, 57 illustrations paper, 978–0–8223–5806–0, $23.95/£15.99 cloth, 978–0–8223–5793–3, $84.95/£55.00
The Fall & Winter 2014 catalog from Duke University Press.