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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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3

The Slippery Slopes of “Soft Power”

Production Studies, International Relations, and the Military Industrial Media Complex

Jonathan Burston

ABSTRACT

The nexus conjoining sites within American entertainment, media, and communications industries to the US military has been called many names. This chapter deploys the phrase “military industrial media complex” (MIM-plex) to describe this burgeoning political–economic formation, and it argues that, despite existing work, larger questions on the MIM-plex remain unasked and unanswered about how studies of media production might matter to other disciplines, to the wider world, and to the field of international relations (IR) in particular. Using the Hollywood–army think tank – the Institute for Creative Technologies – as an example of how media studies and IR might communicate, this chapter also suggests that participants in such a dialogue pay careful attention to the influence of dominant masculinist discourses inside both IR and media studies. These discourses often posit “hard” working concepts against “soft” ones – an increasingly questionable practice that has often diluted both the significance of entertainment and the role of entertainment labor inside discussions of media power.

The MIM-plex, Media Studies and the Academy

Since the time it was first identified in the late 1960s, the nexus conjoining various sites within American entertainment, media, and communications industries to sites inside the US military has been called ...

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