wJun 1, 2007

Wiscon 31 Panel Report: Making War on War

Making War on "War"

Politics, Race, Class, and Religion•Conference Room 4• Saturday, 9:00-10:15 p.m.

Every time we are faced with a serious situation, we Americans have to make a War of it: (i.e., the Wars on Poverty, Drugs, Obesity, and Terror) despite the fact that "victory" continues to elude us. We even have to "battle" disease with "magic bullets". Why are we so taken with war as our default metaphor for action? How does that limit our problem solving approach? What might we replace it with? What metaphors have other cultures turned to? And how might we popularize a change?

M: Jean Mornard, Paul Kincaid, Chris Nakashima-Brown, Wendy Alison Walker, Laurel Winter


Before I say anything else, I will note that the panel description defines 'we' as Americans, and thus the focus was on the English language and metaphors. It was defined as such in the panel description, so I didn't feel too weird about it. Also, I feel like I remember panels differently than others. Mostly, all I write down are things that I found interesting. So, if you don't agree....too bad!

As both an English major and a Political Science major, this panel was like my dream come true. Nerdglee.

It was noted that in the English language, when attempting to define something, we will use violence-related languages. We struggle to understand, fight to understand, defeat difficult problems. From a government standpoint, declaring "war" on an idea or problem makes it seem like you're doing something. It generally also gives you a blank check.

The rest of the notes are here.

Recommended Media:
The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear - BBC documentary

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scribbled mystickeeper at 9:27 AM

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