Restart the ‘World’ with Revolutionary Ruptures: Imagining Identity through War & in Crisis – Apocalyptic Rhetoric & the American Civil Religion

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Sharp, Sarah




The response to 9/11 involved appealing to apocalyptic rhetoric to capitalize on the affective chaos following the tragedy to discursively mobilize actors while engaging in historical (re)imagining of the state. This thesis uses Benedict Anderson's concept of Imagined Communities as it concerns national/historical-time to expand upon Paul Fussell and Lilie Chouliaraki's work on the War Imaginary. It demonstrates how the operative value of myth mirrors and is serviceable to the discursive-reconstitution of the state in times of crisis and how individual self-understanding emerges via Narrative Identity. The major mythic structures that provide the source of authority to American self-understanding include: the American civil religion and the American culture-wars. Crisis compels identification to make sense of unfamiliar events according to one's origin myth; adaptive 'editing' for familiarity permits those in-crisis to shape/eliminate anything that contradicts their moral-truth to consolidate it as 'authentic' when faced with the 'inauthentic' threat of an alternative.






Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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