Politics, Pleasure, Violence: Swedish Defence Propaganda in Social Media
Keywords:aesthetics, affect, communication, propaganda, warfare, social media, YouTube, mobile phone apps, interdiscursive, interdisciplinary
In recent years, the Swedish Armed Forces have produced and distributed highly edited video clips on YouTube that show moving images of military activity. Along- side this development, mobile phone apps have emerged as an important channel through which the user can experience and take an interactive part in the staging of contemporary armed conflict. This article examines the way in which the aes- thetic and affective experience of Swedish defence and security policy is socially and (media-)culturally (co-)constructed and how the official representation of Swedish military intervention (re)produces political and economic effects when these activi- ties are distributed through traditional and social media such as YouTube and digital apps. Based on Isabela and Norman Fairclough’s thoughts on political discourse, Michel Foucault’s dialectic idea of power/knowledge, and Sara Ahmed’s concept of the affective, I discuss how the Swedish digital military aesthetic is part of a broader political and economic practice that has consequences beyond the digital, the semi- otic, and what might at first glance appear to be pure entertainment.
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