This essay considers the contemporary militarization of U.S. civilian psychology in the context of World War II and Cold War efforts to target the psychic and emotional life of civilians as a battlefield component of 'total war.' Selectively tracing the entangled histories of academic social science, the mass media, military technologies, and U.S. government agencies, I suggest that the post-World War II emergence of the U.S. national security state is founded in part on the calculated promotion of civilian insecurity and terror. The militarization of civilian psychology - that is, the psychological re-organization of civil society for the production of violence - becomes historically visible as an administrative imperative of U.S. government. This visibility, I argue, is important in interrogating and intervening in the complex politics and cultures of terrorism today.
- History of sociology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science