The DoD's Cultural Policy: Militarizing the Cultural Industries

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


In pursuit of this Special Issue’s goal to “push the traditional boundaries of cultural policy studies,” this article conceptualizes the US Department of Defense (DoD) as a cultural policy agency. All cultural policy is goal-oriented and aims to act within and have effects upon “the cultural.” Cultural policy scholars examine how State agencies, policies, and regulations act upon to influence: the cultural industries; cultural texts; and, national identities and citizen-subjects. Although the US Federal government has no official cultural policy agency like Canada (the Department of Heritage) or France (the Ministry of Culture), this article conceptualizes the DoD—one of the largest US Federal government agencies—as a cultural policy agency and explores how it uses cultural policy to act within and upon the cultural field. It presents a study of one important DoD cultural policy agency (the Public Affairs Office’s Special Assistant for Entertainment Media) and one significant DoD cultural policy doctrine (DoD Instruction 5410.16 DoD Assistance to Non-Government, Entertainment-Oriented Media Productions). This particular DoD cultural policy formation acts upon the cultural field, and in effect, supports and legitimizes the current and ongoing militarization of the cultural industries, popular culture and national identity.