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Moving Images and the Politics of Pity: A Multilevel Approach to the Interpretation of Images and Emotions

  • Gabi Schlag
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)

Abstract

Lately, but without surprise, both images and emotions have gained great attention in political science and international relations theory (IR), although studying images and emotions remains a challenge. In this chapter, I address two questions in relation to this challenge. First, I reflect on the relation between images, emotions, and politics, with the aim of ‘theorizing the process through which individual emotions become collective and political’ (Bleiker & Hutchison, Theorizing Emotions in World Politics. International Theory, 6, 491–514, 2014). Focusing on visual representations of emotions, I argue that images depicting moments of distress and misery can be both, powerful in the sense that they raise awareness and provoke emotional responses, and powerless in the sense that they de-politicize the suffering of others. Second, I sketch out a multilevel methodology that intends to capture and study emotions at different sites, including the image itself, its production, circulation, media(tiza)tion, audiencing, and intertextuality.

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the editors, Maéva Clément and Eric Sangar, as well as Axel Heck, Hanna Pfeifer, and Katarina Ristic for helpful comments. All remaining errors and fallacies are my own.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabi Schlag
    • 1
  1. 1.Helmut-Schmidt-UniversityHamburgGermany

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