Encounters between violence and media—Introduction

Harju, A. A., & Kotilainen, N. (2023). Encounters between violence and media—Introduction. International Journal of Communication, 17(0)

Link: https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/15887

Open access: Yes

Notes: In the introduction to the special issue on encounters between media and violence, Harju and Kotilainen discuss the central idea of the collection of papers: how the contemporary media landscape transforms our regimes of recognition in the face of violence. Indeed, recognition is an essential act of belonging, whereas not being recognized is to be considered non-existent. As media increasingly mediate how we come to recognize one another, they have become spaces where visibility is uneven and contested. For instance, the authors argue that “from encounters between acts of violence, representations of violence, and media visibility emerges the question of recognition, and of the value of human life and death. Who is seen, and who is recognized, but also how, when, where, and by whom?” Overall, this essay is an invitation to pay close attention to, on the one hand, how platforms direct, enhance or impede specific violent contexts from being recognized and, on the other hand, how the uses of such platforms foster or resist regimes of visibility.

Abstract: This Special Section on Encounters Between Violence and Media examines how these encounters are circulated, negotiated or contested, or altogether rejected. Violence enters our everyday life in various and unexpected forms from live-streamed mass shootings to news about sexual abuse. This thematic issue brings together scholars from media and communication studies, social sciences, and the humanities with contributions ranging from interrogations of the more visible and often spectacularized violence to the more invisible violence, gendered violence and violence against marginalized groups.Drawing on the philosophical and political science concept of recognition and problematizing regimes of visibility as regimes of power, the articles in this collection examine in what ways the different forms of violence are (in)visible in the media and what implications (in)visibility has for recognition, on the one hand, and marginalization on the other. The empirical contexts range from terrorist violence against marginalized groups to gendered violence and human trafficking. The collection highlights the need to recognize the violence and suffering experienced by those often existing on the social margins.

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