The Wire and America’s Dark Corners

Critical Essays


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About the Book

In post–9/11 America, while all eyes were on Iraq and Afghanistan, The Wire (2002–2008) focused on the dark realities of those living in America’s disintegrating industrial heartlands and drug-ravaged neighborhoods, striving against the odds in its schools, hospitals and legal system.
With compelling story lines and a memorable cast of characters, The Wire has been compared to the work of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, with a level of detail rarely seen in a dramatic series. While the show garnered critical praise and a loyal following, a discussion of its political aspects—in particular Bush-era America—is overdue.
This collection of new essays examines The Wire in terms of the War on Drugs, the racial and economic division of America’s cities, the surveillance state and the meaning of citizenship.

About the Author(s)

Arin Keeble is Lecturer in Contemporary Literature and Culture at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. He has published widely on contemporary fiction, television, disaster and terrorism.
Ivan Stacy is a lecturer in English at Royal Thimphu College in Bhutan. He specializes in contemporary fiction, and his research interests include complicity and the ethics of witnessing and testimony.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Arin Keeble and Ivan Stacy
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7918-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1960-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  v

Preface  1

Introduction  3

Part One. Bad Dreams: American Identity Post–9/11

History, Freedom and Bureaucracy (Andrew Moore)  13

Mythological Fictions and the Game Paradigm (Niall Heffernan)  31

The American Dream: Capital, Codes and Consensus in the Early 21st Century (Michael Gow)  49

“It’s all in the game”: Citizenship as the “Missing Middle” (Michael Lister)  67

Part Two. The Target: The War on Drugs and Its Cost

The Corners of Crime (Robert Andersson, Jørgen Bruhn and Anne Gjelsvik)  81

The Paper Bag Compromise: Hiding the Problem of Drug Dependency in Hamsterdam (J.D. Taylor)  95

Insurgency, Accidental Guerrillas and Gang Culture (Tiffany Potter and Tobias Sirzyk)  114

The War on Drugs and the War on Terror (Arin Keeble)  133

Part Three. The Detail: Domestic Policy in ­Bush-era America Rethinking Space (Anca M. Pusca)  153

Watching, Policing: Surveillance and Complicity (Ivan Stacy)  170

A Dystopian Fable About America’s Urban Poor (Peter Dreier and John Atlas)  192

Post–9/11 Educational Reform and the Epistemology of Ignorance: A Critique of No Child Left Behind (Laura ­Bolf-Beliveau and Ralph Beliveau)  208

About the Contributors  221

Index  225

Book Reviews & Awards

“exposes the darkest corners of America. It is must read for every American who cares for their country”—The Washington BookReview.