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America and the Politics of Insecurity

, 256 pages

22 line drawings

May 2016



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America and the Politics of Insecurity


In America and the Politics of Insecurity, Andrew Rojecki assesses the response of citizens and politicians to a series of crises that confronted the United States during the first decade of the twenty-first century. This period brought Americans face to face with extraordinarily difficult problems that were compounded by their origin in seemingly uncontrollable global forces. Rojecki establishes a theoretical framework for understanding how these new uncertainties contribute to increasingly polarized political discourse.

Analyzing three domains of American insecurity—economic, environmental, and existential—Rojecki examines responses to the Great Recession by groups like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street; considers why the growing demand for fossil fuels makes people disregard global warming; and explores the desire for security measures that restrict personal freedom in the age of terrorism. Ultimately, he explains why the right has thus far held an edge over the left in the politics of insecurity.

Rojecki concludes that in order to address these broad-scale political problems, we must reframe domestic issues as reactions to undiagnosed global conditions. Bringing the psychology of uncertainty together with contemporary case studies, this book is a sweeping diagnostic for—and antidote to—ineffective political discourse in a globalized world that imports bads as well as goods.

Andrew Rojecki is an associate professor of communication at the University of Illinois–Chicago. He is the author of Silencing the Opposition: Antinuclear Movements and the Media in the Cold War and the coauthor of The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America.

"This is a vital book for understanding the dysfunctional dynamics of 21st century American politics. Rojecki brings an extraordinarily wide range of ideas and data together to explain the effects of globalization and its attendant insecurities on domestic politics. The book is creative, innovative, beautifully written, provocative and surprising. It will become a classic of political science, communication and sociology, and with any luck could actually help Americans see their way through to a more secure and rational future."

"Climate change and environmental despoliation, financial meltdowns and increased poverty, asymmetric warfare and terror—these, are just some of the crises spawned by today’s globally interconnected, inegalitarian world. They represent the dark side of globalization. Andrew Rojecki shines a much-needed torch on how the politics of insecurity produced by such crises are played out in contemporary America. Incisive, erudite, highly recommended."

"Rojecki’s elegant and deeply researched book shows how to do political science about actual people, as against the fantasies of rational-choice theory or the figments of constitutionalism. Interest figures in the media and in politics, but not in the people. Until further notice, terror is the medium and the message."

"This ambitious, effective book exposes readers to the broader context in which our current political problems are playing out and provokes us to consider why our representatives seem so unable to deal forthrightly with those problems."

"Clearly and engagingly written, this book will lend itself to course adoption while appealing to a broad and multidisciplinary audience of scholars and general readers."


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