SPOILER ALERT: This text is a reflection on the 2018 spy thriller Red Sparrow. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to read on after a trip to the movies. You may ask what a racy flick has to do with current political affairs, because, of course, it is fiction and meant to entertain rather than educate. That notwithstanding, it can tell us a lot about stereotypes, moral perceptions of right and wrong and about who is the good and the bad guys. Now don’t get me wrong; I think that Red Sparrow is an entertaining movie which I enjoyed watching. Alas, finding it hard to switch off the philologist and security studies researcher, I just couldn’t ignore the socio-political context and stop analyzing it from a humanities point of view.
In the fields of marketing and public relations the value of getting your texts, slogans and advertising messages right is well known. Yet, in the scientific field of international relations the power of words is still underestimated, despite some scholars working on and with political discourse analysis. The last months showed an increased interest in the role of language in political processes. During the Austrian presidential elections the use of NLP by Norbert Hofer was discussed, and the EU enlarged its task force to counter Russian disinformation. Read more [German]