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Hearts and Minds

US Cultural Management in 21st Century Foreign Relations


Edited By Matthew Chambers

This volume looks at a key component of recent US foreign relations, namely, its emphasis on «hearts and minds» as part of its cultural management of the global Other. The authors collected here analyze to what extent we can frame the intent and consequences of this term as a coherent policy, discussing how to think about foreign policy strategies that involve the management of cultural relations.

«Including fascinating first-hand and deeply-researched accounts of the workings of various US institutions (many of them ‘cultural’), this volume is a must for an understanding of the power the US projects worldwide.» Professor Laleh Khalili, SOAS University of London

«This fascinating collection reveals the nuance and complexity behind a seemingly banal phrase.» Professor David Schmid, State University of New York at Buffalo

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Quantitative Linguistic Analyses of the Phrase ‘Hearts and Minds’: From the Spiritualism of The King James Bible to the Militarism of Wikileaks Cables


The phrase ‘hearts and minds’ has become emblematic of the last 50 years of American military and economic policy, appearing in discourse that records the expansion of the US financial and cultural empire across vast areas of the world. The slogan reveals a strategy encompassing US goals in terms of commerce, culture and military presence, yet the slogan’s origin leads back to a more spiritual connection as early American ministers steered the ‘hearts and minds’ of their flock toward stern but lofty ends. In this investigation that uses quantitative online research tools of various types, I will examine the way the phrase ‘hearts and minds’ has been used for over 200 years in books and written records traceable and quantifiable through Google Search, Google Books, and Google N-Gram viewer. This information will compliment a large corpus-based, text analysis of Wikileaks cables containing the phrase written by US Embassy diplomats and State Department officials between 2002 and 2010. These cables will be examined using standard techniques of content analysis such as frequency and collocation counts, followed by a study of the same corpus using DICTION, a text analysis program that measures textual tone and content. A narrower corpus, one comprising 26 cables from the US Embassy in Iraq will add further specificity to the study using DICTION, and finally, a Critical Discourse Analysis of one particular cable written by a foreign service officer at the US Embassy in Iraq will provide a prose illustration of many of the empirical...

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