Topia 23-103

Cultures of Militarization: Special Issue of TOPIA


This special issue of TOPIA Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies addresses the ubiquity of militarization, a presence that is woven into the very fabric of civic culture.Militarization is not just something that happens in war zones; when our government invests billions of dollars in war planes, prisons and the “digital economy,” while starving resources in social justice, education, the environment and culture, we are living the consequences of global militarization. To talk about cultures of militarization is to talk about the terms in which collective identity is militarized and resistive forms of agency allowed and disallowed.

By recognizing the human relations within capitalism and how these have come to be defined increasingly by military interests, we reveal that militarism is a global master narrative; military diction becomes inseparable from the language of power, sweeping aside human suffering as mere “collateral damage.” We are led to believe that it is temporary, and we are compliant in our acceptance of these narratives.

Cultures of Militarization, edited by Jody Berland (York University) and Blake Fitzpatrick (Ryerson University), is a broad discussion by twenty-two international scholars and artists whose work investigates the processes through which military presence is normalized or critiqued in private, public and national narratives. The relationship between militarism and civic culture pushes us beyond a static binary to reveal several dynamically related terms and issues.

The collection is not a move to summarize militarism into a finite set of conceptual terms, but rather offers evidence of the tangential, broad, insidious and revealed presence of militarization throughout culture.