Introducing the future now : using memetics and popular culture to identify the post 9/11 homeland security Zeitgeist
Boyd, Judith K.
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What effect did the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, have on American culture? One outcome was the emergence of "homeland security" as a new institution, concept, and method. But what does this mean as part of a broader historical narrative of cultural change following 9/11? This thesis uses a combination of both classic and contemporary theories to gain perspective on how the public perceives homeland security - Zeitgeist theory and memetics. By examining small clues found within American popular culture, called memes, the reader is able to see how ideas related to homeland security have been transmitted, varied, or faded away. What may appear to be random events found in American popular culture can be considered part of a larger dynamic at work called the "Zeitgeist" and may provide the first glimpse into a future that "currently exists, but is just not widely distributed yet." The themes found within the homeland security Zeitgeist - patriotism, victimization, fear, and absurdity - provide insight into how Americans perceive homeland security and awareness of emerging cultural patterns that affect their lives. Opportunities for further research are suggested related to cultural evolution, memetics, popular culture analysis, strategic communications, and homeland security.
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