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The Other Vietnam Syndrome: The Cultural Politics of Corporeal Patriotism and Visual Resistance
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5123-1357
2016 (English)In: ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, ISSN 1492-9732, E-ISSN 1492-9732, Vol. 15, no 2, 418-439 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article argues that the emergence of the U.S. counterculture contemporaneously with the Vietnam antiwar movement produced a visual coding of antiwar thought and action as dirty, messy, and most of all ‘hippie’, as a result of the visual differences between the most visible elements of the movement and the U.S. mainstream. This coding of antiwar sentiment as visually Other was seized upon by the right as part of the process of remembering this era of U.S. history, and this visual coding has over time evolved into a ‘regime of visuality’ that delegitimizes opposition to war and introduces a kind of corporeal patriotism where one’s loyalty to the state can be measured by an evaluation of one’s appearance. Whereas the Vietnam syndrome was an expression of elite disdain for public opposition to ‘the use of force’ (i.e. military invasions), the other Vietnam syndrome (OVS) constitutes a regime of visuality that links visual deviance to opposition to war, with the intention of delegitimizing both and placing deviant-looking protesters outside the body of the ‘legitimate’ public. The article provides historical and theoretical overviews of the OVS and discusses implications for contemporary protest movements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 15, no 2, 418-439 p.
Keyword [en]
visuality, visibility, appearance, protest, Vietnam, body, patriotism, nationalism
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-284450ISI: 000380036300009OAI: diva2:920370
Available from: 2016-04-18 Created: 2016-04-18 Last updated: 2016-08-23Bibliographically approved

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