, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 147–169 | Cite as

Mediated habits: images, networked affect and social change

Original Article


While many people remain hopeful that particular images of injustice will have the power to catalyse progressive transformation, there is also widespread belief in the inevitability of ‘compassion fatigue’. Bringing philosophers of habit into conversation with contemporary scholars of affect, visual culture and digital media, this article argues for a more nuanced understanding of the links between images and change—one in which political feeling and political action are complexly intertwined and repeated sensation does not necessarily lead to disaffection. When affect acts as a ‘binding technique’ compelling us to inhabit our sensorial responses to images, I suggest, we may become better attuned to everyday patterns of seeing, feeling, thinking and interacting—and hence to the possibility of change at the level of habit. This article thus contends that thinking affect and habit together as imbricated may enable us to better understand the dynamics of both individual and socio-political change today.


Affect Habit Images Digital media Political feeling Social change 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SSPSSRUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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