Home/Land/Security : What We Learn About Arab Communities from Action-Adventure Films
As the American government uses the threat of terrorist violence to justify stringent domestic and exploitative foreign policies, Arab communities in the United States face the injustice of racial profiling and harrassment. The reaction of Americans to the genre of action-adventure film and its increasing use of Arabs as villians shows how our perceptions of Arab communities and individuals has been skewed. Using focus groups composed of a diverse cross-section of Americans, Karin Gwinn Wilkins analyzes how participants differ in their perception of specific action-adventure films and their Arab villains. More specifically, Wilkins interviews participants and asks them questions directly related to three topics: villains as threats to national security, film settings in relation to fear within global space and the Middle East, and heroes conquering evil. This book addresses the neglected empirical link between documented media stereotypes of Arab communities and the lived consequences of these portrayals, in terms of discriminatory practices and generalizations.
- Electronic book text | 112 pages
- 16 Dec 2008
- Lexington Books
- MD, United States
Dr. Wilkins has created an inspiring, well-researched, easy-to-read work that is essential for media academics and practitioners alike. Wilkins, who has studied and done research in the Arab world, is uniquely qualified to craft this publication. While examining the image of those from the West and the Middle East in films, this book has much broader applications for those concerned about depictions of all cultures in mainstream media....--Douglas A. Boyd Highly recommended! Wilkins's thought provoking book illustrates how media images of Arabs and Muslims are impacting social predjudices, public policies and political decisions.....--Jack Shaheen Creative, courageous and compassionate, this is a major work connecting communication, security and identity. It sheds light on issues that attract too much heat, and is a sorely needed reminder that communication plays a crucial role in shaping how we see the Arab communities, the world, and ourselves?for better or for worse....--Marwan Kraidy This book is an important contribution to our understanding of how Hollywood films help demonize Arab-Americans, Arabs, and Middle East cultures. Through carefully constructed focus groups, the book reveals the specific ways some audience members uncritically incorporate the often-negative imagery into their day-to-day thoughts and actions regarding Arabs and Arab cultures. But perhaps the most important contribution of the book is that it goes beyond demonstrating the impact of media imagery of race andethnicity and offers a multi-pronged approach that advocates for culturally healthier and fairer ways of depicting people of Arab descent (and other subaltern groups) in US media. The book is essential reading for media scholars and activists alike...--Hemant Shah A fine product of the author's long engagement with media research and with the Arab world, Home/Land/Security is a careful study of how Americans variously contest and digest Hollywood versions of the planet's three hundred-plus million Arabs. Karin Wilkins thoughtfully balances the weight of history and the 9/11 massacre in exploring a cross-section of audience reactions to Arab characters in action movies. The cultural implications for U.S. foreign policy are significant....--John Downing, director, Global Media Research Center; professor of international communication, Southern Illinois University
About Karin Gwinn Wilkins
Karin Gwinn Wilkins is associate professor of media studies at the University of Texas at Austin.