Pro-war propaganda: are we doing it by accident?

Presentation by Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR

Online publication: 12 April 2024


With war and military spending again climbing – boosted by a rise in nationalism, even within democratic nations – we all need to consider whether our behaviour is increasing or decreasing society’s acceptance of the situation, i.e. are we helping to normalise a ‘culture of war’? This presentation critically examine examples of military-friendly language and military-friendly associations – especially in educational, technological, cultural, and policy settings. Under language, we look at terms such as defence, deterrence, and precision, and how they are used to frame the debate in ways that increase acceptance of militarised strategies. In looking at associations, we examine some of the ways in which sponsorship and branding of activities – such as university R&D projects, STEM careers fairs, and science-fiction in TV and film – help to normalise military influence and involvement. The presentation also looks at what actions professionals in these fields can take to promote and communicate a more peace-orientated agenda.

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This presentation was delivered at the conference - Teaching Peace in Higher Education: Building Cultures of Non-violence and Demilitarization in Universities - at Portsmouth University, UK, on 11 April, 2024.

Image: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

Child with gun - Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

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