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Securitainment: Watching the Border for Fun and Safety

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Abstract:

This presentation explores the commercial mobilization of the image of the nation-at-risk by border security reality TV shows. It situates the programs Homeland Security, USA and Border Security: Australia’s Front Line within a broader category of programming that might be described as “securitainment”: shows that double as entertainment and instruction in the risk management techniques available to members of the public and the state security apparatus. The presentation argues that border security shows mobilize a version of the “nation under threat” that aligns itself with both state security policies and market imperatives. Focusing on the risks posed to the nation state by globalization processes, the shows reveal the commercial potential of the anxiety mobilized by the so-called war on terror and the political role played by securitainment as a means of framing the external threats faced by the “homeland.” The presentation explores the risks posed by the permeable border of the nation state, ranging from the ecological threat of alien flora and fauna to the economic threat posed by illegal immigration to the security threat posed by terrorism. In an era of global flows of people and products, the shows highlight the way in which a national imaginary is shaped at its borders. Like other reality shows, these programs also have a pedagogical element, they instruct viewers not just in border crossing rituals, but also in generalizable techniques for detecting potential threat or deception. The shows rely upon the cooperation of state authorities and serve as commercial extensions of or adjuncts to existing forms of border surveillance, permitting customs and immigration officials to frame the story and explain both the potential risks and the strategies for detecting them. The close cooperation between public and private sector, between logics of policing and entertainment, highlight the ways in which public relations functions of the state are taken up by the private sector. As in the case of police shows, the border security shows conform with and reinforce governmental priorities from a commercial perspective. .
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association
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http://www.icahdq.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p403326_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Andrejevic, Mark. "Securitainment: Watching the Border for Fun and Safety" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Suntec City, Singapore, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p403326_index.html>

APA Citation:

Andrejevic, M. B. "Securitainment: Watching the Border for Fun and Safety" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Suntec City, Singapore <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p403326_index.html

Publication Type: Session Paper
Abstract: This presentation explores the commercial mobilization of the image of the nation-at-risk by border security reality TV shows. It situates the programs Homeland Security, USA and Border Security: Australia’s Front Line within a broader category of programming that might be described as “securitainment”: shows that double as entertainment and instruction in the risk management techniques available to members of the public and the state security apparatus. The presentation argues that border security shows mobilize a version of the “nation under threat” that aligns itself with both state security policies and market imperatives. Focusing on the risks posed to the nation state by globalization processes, the shows reveal the commercial potential of the anxiety mobilized by the so-called war on terror and the political role played by securitainment as a means of framing the external threats faced by the “homeland.” The presentation explores the risks posed by the permeable border of the nation state, ranging from the ecological threat of alien flora and fauna to the economic threat posed by illegal immigration to the security threat posed by terrorism. In an era of global flows of people and products, the shows highlight the way in which a national imaginary is shaped at its borders. Like other reality shows, these programs also have a pedagogical element, they instruct viewers not just in border crossing rituals, but also in generalizable techniques for detecting potential threat or deception. The shows rely upon the cooperation of state authorities and serve as commercial extensions of or adjuncts to existing forms of border surveillance, permitting customs and immigration officials to frame the story and explain both the potential risks and the strategies for detecting them. The close cooperation between public and private sector, between logics of policing and entertainment, highlight the ways in which public relations functions of the state are taken up by the private sector. As in the case of police shows, the border security shows conform with and reinforce governmental priorities from a commercial perspective. .


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Rationalizing the Border, Rationalizing the Self: Do-It-Yourself Politics among Border Watch Groups in Arizona

Civilian Border Patrols: Neighborhood Watch on the Border

Border Games: Play, Performance and Simulation of Law Enforcement among Border Watch Groups


 
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