DFG Researchers’ Network “Visuality and Global Politics”
Principal investigator and coordinator: Dr Gabi Schlag, Institute for International Politics, Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg (zus. mit Dr Axel Heck, Universität Kiel)
Time frame: 2016-2018
The political power of still and moving images has probably never been stronger than in today’s age of global media and social networks. Pictures and videos of war and conflict, images of displaced people, refugees and social inequality, cartographies of climate change and environmental disasters, videos depicting public riots, oppression and violence diffuse easily across national and cultural boundaries. They often become ubiquitous representations of political dynamics and global politics. Such visual representations circulating through mass media and social networks raise public attention, trigger emotions and shape our common knowledge about the world we are living in. But how can we assess the political significance of still and moving images? How can we analyze the content, scope and socio-political effects of (audio-) visual representations? How can we understand visuality in global politics in general?
The network aims at connecting researchers in Germany and the Netherlands in order to enhance and deepen our theoretical, methodological and research practical knowledge about visuality in global politics. By theorizing visuality, we refer to the various symbolic forms and practices of the visual and visualizing: still and moving images produced by different technologies, associated with various documentary and fictional genres and conventions, including video clips, films and documentaries, photographs, comics, cartoons, graffiti and street art paintings. As still and moving images are always representations of something or somebody, they are actively constructing meaning and knowledge. They do not replace the presence of subjects and objects but are performing their contingent re-presentations. History, however, shows that visual representations are not powerful per se. Some still and moving images become so memorable that they develop into internationally well-known and famous symbols and icons. Other images are less “iconic” but they are nevertheless reproduced in media, newspapers, and television – they are part of our daily live and shape our knowledge about political conflicts, natural disasters and humanitarian crises. It remains an open, yet theoretically and empirically relevant question how visual representations of global politics become politically powerful focal points and symbols. Due to the growing interest of international scholars to analyze still and moving images, the planned research network will establish a multidisciplinary conversation on theoretical, methodological and research practical challenges to “understanding visuality in global politics” in a systematic and critical way.
Gabi Schlag/Axel Heck (eds.) 2020: Visualität und Weltpolitik. Praktiken des Zeigens und Sehens in den Internationalen Beziehungen, Wiesbaden: Springer VS (https://www.springer.com/de/book/9783658299705).
Anna Geis/Katarina Ristić 2020: Umstrittene Legitimität. Das Internationale Straftribunal für Ex-Jugoslawien (ICTY) als „Stimme der Menschheit“ und als „politisches Gericht“, in: Gabi Schlag/Axel Heck (eds.): Visualität und Weltpolitik. Praktiken des Zeigens und Sehens in den Internationalen Beziehungen, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 89-120
Hanna Pfeifer/Christoph Günther 2020: ISIS und die Inszenierung von Kulturgüterzerstörung für ein globales Publikum, in: Gabi Schlag/Axel Heck (eds.): Visualität und Weltpolitik. Praktiken des Zeigens und Sehens in den Internationalen Beziehungen, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 151-179.