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The effects of mediation? Beyond the construction of consent in the war on terror

Best, K. (2009) The effects of mediation? Beyond the construction of consent in the war on terror. In: Grenfell, D. and James, P., (eds.) Rethinking insecurity, war and violence: Beyond savage globalization. Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group, London, England, pp. 71-84.

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This paper examines the intersection of control strategies, visual imagery and sympathy. In particular, it looks at the interleaving of various cybernetic war technologies with visual technologies of photography and diagramming, in conjunction with the American attempt to keep the focal point of international sympathy locked on the moral righteousness of 9-11. Focusing on recent examples of imagery in the war on Iraq, especially the digital photography taken at Abu Ghraib, the paper argues that the distribution and direction of sympathy is a potent force in the creation of State control, and is interlocked with various strategies of managing information technologies. However, control is notoriously precarious due to the ambiguous relationship between sympathy, embodiment and control. The affective force of digital photography needs to be measured against the recuperation of powerful images within familiar narratives of identity.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
Copyright: 2009 The Authors
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