Chapter

Humanitarianism and the representation of alterity: the aporias and prospects of cosmopolitan visuality

Fuyuki Kurasawa

in Democracy in Crisis

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780719079238
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702123 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719079238.003.0006
Humanitarianism and the representation of alterity: the aporias and prospects of cosmopolitan visuality

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This chapter examines the way in which alterity is visually represented in Western media coverage of humanitarian disasters in the global South in terms of either pathologisation or victimization. It contends that the visual representation and mediation of distant events and persons have had an unprecedented constitutive power for the way that liberal democracy engages with alterity. This chapter establishes the representational and institutional conditions within which a humanitarian scopic regime operates and explores the aporetic nature of this regime's engagement with otherness and the dynamics through which it cannot but simultaneously negate and produce alterity in a manner that problematises the democratic imaginary. It also explores how cosmopolitan visuality posits alterity as both a fundamental problem and a challenge for democracy.

Keywords: alterity; Western media; humanitarian disasters; liberal democracy; cosmopolitan visuality; democratic imaginary; otherness

Chapter.  7582 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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