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The Dynamics of Mediatized Conflicts

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Edited By Mikkel Fugl Eskjær, Stig Hjarvard and Mette Mortensen

This book engages with the mediatized dynamics of political, military and cultural conflicts. In today’s global and converging media environment, the interrelationship between media and conflict has been altered and intensified. No longer limited to the realms of journalism and political communication, various forms of new media have allowed other social actors to communicate and act through media networks. Thus, the media not only play an important role by reporting conflicts; they have also become co-constitutive of the ways conflicts develop and spread.
The first part of the book, Transnational Networks, addresses the opportunities and challenges posed by transnational media to actors seeking to engage in and manage conflicts through new media platforms. The second part, Mobilising the Personal: Crossing Public and Private Boundaries, concerns the ways in which media framings of conflicts often revolve around personal aspects of public figures. The third part, Military, War, and Media, engages with a classic theme of media studies – the power relationship between media, state, and military – but in light of the mediatized condition of modern warfare, in which the media have become an integrated part of military strategies.
The book develops new theoretical arguments and a series of empirical studies that are essential reading for students and scholars interested in the complex roles of media in contemporary conflicts.
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Chapter Eight: Imagining Influence: Logic(al) Tensions in War and Defence

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Imagining Influence

Logic(al) Tensions in War and Defence

SARAH MALTBY



This chapter critically analyses the philosophy, doctrine, and practice of Influence Activity in defence. Influence Activity refers to a particular form of strategic communication conducted by the military in order to influence attitudes and behaviours through information-based activities. In doctrinal terms, Influence is defined as ‘the power or ability to affect someone’s beliefs or action or a person or thing with such ability or power’ (Ministry of Defence, 2009, p. 88). This ‘power’ is simultaneously conceived of as generating both ‘affect’—in which the state of a particular scenario or dynamic is altered—and ‘effect’ in which a particular outcome is accomplished (see Morriss, 2002). Here, I examine the philosophy and practice of Influence and its associated ‘effects’ through an examination of the three embedded logics that frame and govern it: military logic (a Clausewitzian orientation to war); marketing logic (an orientation marketing principle); and media logic. These logics are particularly revealing of an encompassing military orientation to war that is both responding and contributing to the conditions in which war is performed, but also directly impacting upon how it is performed; in other words, war that is mediatized.

This is explored here not only in relation to why ‘influence’ has assumed such centrality in the military’s understanding of war and defence, but also how influence is conceived and measured. In this...

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