Theatre and cultural diplomacy : the role of the performing arts in how nations deal with each other
DeCarli, Ashley M.
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The role of culture in foreign and security relations has advanced to a prominence in the present and demands further analysis and reflection by those responsible for the making of policy and strategy. At the same time, an understanding of this vital term as a feature of society and state suffers from a blinkered perspective of culture. Many observers neither understand the past and present role of culture in society and politics, nor have much interest in culture in the form of high culture, especially in the performing arts other than at an unsophisticated level. Further, the psychological impact of war and terrorism and economic upheaval channels sentiments of reason away from religion and culture into such phenomena as escapism or political resignation. Or the impact of war channels the desire for symbols, narrative, metaphor and an interpretation of politics and society into extremism that camouflages itself in the realm of culture with damaging effect for state and society on the western, liberal and tolerant model. As a result, people learn about cultures through a distorted lens of fear that leads them to an unconscious habit of profiling individuals into cultural stereotypes or images of the enemy reflecting cultural ideas.
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