The visual fix: The seductive beauty of images of violence

Kilby, JE 2013, 'The visual fix: The seductive beauty of images of violence' , European Journal of Social Theory , pp. 1-16.

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This article questions the value of photographs of violence and suffering. Taking Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Philippe Bourgois’ anthology Violence in War and Peace (2004) as a point of departure and return, it will explore the significance of the inclusion of images of explicit violence when they readily acknowledge they risk both indifference and voyeuristic interest. Key to my analysis is the centrality of the body to the images. Scheper- Hughes and Bourgois are wary of reducing questions of violence to bodily suffering, but the admission of so many images of physical violation undercuts their critique of the primacy of the physical in our accounts of violence. The use of the body as a brute signifier of violence is deeply problematic, not least because it is tied to questions of race. Ultimately, it is argued, they attempt, unconsciously, to fix the nature of violence – which they deem slippery because it is irrefutably social – in the (visualized) body.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences > Centre for Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal of Social Theory
Publisher: Sage publications
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1368-4310
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: JE Kilby
Date Deposited: 03 May 2013 15:10
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2015 00:33

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