Imagined as us-American: Patriotic Music, Religion, and Violence Post-9/11

David Kwon

Vol. 2, No. 1

Spring 2020

Pages: 96-120

Imagined as us-American: Patriotic Music, Religion, and Violence Post-9/11

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no1.05

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Abstract

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Social-Scientific Research

David Kwon, Patriotic Music, Country Music, Iraq War, Nationalism, Imagined National Identity, Religion, Violence, Post-9/11

With the common correlation of the patriotic music community to “America,” country music after 9/11, in many respects, could be seen as a site for the reinforcement and construction of American national identity. This article particularly explores the use of country music in the United States to represent and create a political ideology of “imagined” national identity in the time period between September 11, 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in the Spring of 2003. However, the nation, as imagined in these country song lyrics, has very specific dimensions. It is not just any nation. It is perceived (and valued, for that matter) as justifiably aggressive. It is a Christian nation defined in opposition to the Islamic “other.” This targeted racial and religious group is not just an outside foreign “other” but a heavily stigmatized foreigner from within their own country. The mapping of these particular concepts of nation and religion onto mainstream country music constitutes its primary imagined identity.

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