9/11 and the Power of the Network Society in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel

  • Rosa Urtiaga Universidad de Zaragoza
Keywords: network society, 9/11, power relations, cosmopolitanism, narrative structure


In this article, I propose an analysis of Babel’s critique of unequal power relations in the global network society, in particular, after the 9/11 attacks. The events precipitated a new state-centered politics, which made military war on terror inevitable and justified, forgetting about the cosmopolitan concerns that, in the view of many, had started to flourish by the late 1990s, in the wake of the cold war. I draw on Manuel Castells’s belief that, although a network-based society is ideally a non-centered form of social structure, it is also a source of dramatic reorganization of power relationships. In this sense, my analysis suggests that Babel deviates from decentralized narrative conventions of ensemble movies, and that its uneven structure problematizes positions of domination and subordination in the global war on terror. In particular, Babel’s deviant structure is deconstructed as a parallel artifact of the film’s thematic critique of non-cosmopolitan power relations in the global network society.