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Dept. of Film-Video and Media Studies | Penn State University
Presentation: Mobilizing Desires, Demobilizing Combatants: Consumer Marketing and the Paradox of Individual Demobilization

Alex Fattal’s research analyzes the central role that the media plays in Colombia's armed conflict through long-term ethnographic research. This combination of subject and method has led him to a research agenda that is deeply interdisciplinary, drawing on the social sciences, humanities, Latin American studies and the documentary arts.

Subjects that he examines include: the shifting strategies, tactics, and practices of warfare in the twenty-first century, the corporatization of propaganda, critical studies of consumer culture and marketing, the politics of social media, and documentary filmmaking (especially in Latin America). Questions of temporality, surveillance, the role of the market in counterinsurgency, and the relationship between war and non-war are a few of the problems that motivate his research.

Dr. Fattal is also documentarian whose practice exists at the intersection of experimental visual anthropology and social justice work. To learn more about his academic and creative work please visit these two sites where you can learn more about the two books and the feature-length documentary he is currently working on.


Consumer marketing professionals, the same ones who steward the brands of Mazda and RedBull in Colombia, produced this video for the Colombian Ministry of Defense. The video, born of this military-marketing nexus, is from the fourth of five annual campaigns that ran each December between 2010 and 2014.