The Duck of Minerva

Popular Culture and Civil-Military Relations

13 April 2012

Some of those who missed the ISA panel on popular culture have asked me if I can send them my remarks. So I decided to upload them in video format as well. You can see my presentation on Battlestar Galactica and civil-military relations below. This is essentially a presentation of a research paper I did with two students, which will be published later this year in Nicholas Kiersey and Iver Neumann‘s Battlestar Galactica and International Relations.

While we’re on the topic of civ-mil and popular culture, let me be the first to say that BSG is not the only cultural artifact through which these themes can be explored. Olivier Schmitt of King’s College London posted this analysis of how alien invasion movies reflect US strategic debates over military doctrine and construct perceptions of the military’s role and value in the minds of Americans (and presumably others). Schmitt begins with the film Battleship, which was just released in Europe:

My favorite sound-byte from Schmitt’s review:

Battleship is interesting on that regard because well, you know, the U.S. navy saves the world and stuff. It is probably already the sign of the end of the COIN era and the beginning of a new focus on the global commons and the strategic roles of the navies.

I should warn you (since it releases here only in May) that the essay contains mild spoilers… still well worth the read.