'The Culture of War'

in Critical Survey
Author: George Lipsitz1
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A social warrant is a collectively sanctioned understanding of obligations and entitlements that has the force of law, even though it is rarely written down. Social warrants author and authorize new ways of knowing and new ways of being; they challenge and transform what is permitted and what is forbidden. The social warrant of the Fourteenth Amendment opened the door to equality for many more people than the slaves and their descendants. Yet the triumph of abolition democracy did not destroy the regime of white male propertied power. Social warrants do not only succeed one another, they answer one another, contest one another, and constrain one another. The social warrant of white male Protestant propertied power in the United States is not simply the mal-distribution of rights, resources, and recognition, but also a systemic structured advantage, a way of life and a world view. Most important at this particular moment of danger, the social warrant of white male Protestant propertied power perpetuates itself through state sponsorship of spectacle, sensation, and sentiment connected to the war on terrorism.


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