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Type: Journal article
Title: Distanced suffering: Photographed suffering and the construction of white in/vulnerability
Author: Szorenyi, A.
Citation: Social Semiotics, 2009; 19(2):93-109
Publisher: Routledge
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 1035-0330
Statement of
Anna Szorenyi
Abstract: There has been much debate about the ethics and effectiveness of the circulation of photographs of suffering. An analysis of commentaries and reviews of such photographs shows that the genre interpellates a particular spectator, for whom the “distance” of suffering is viewed from a comfortable centre. This mode of spectatorship is identifiable as “white” in its claim to unmarked privilege. The photographs threaten to destabilise this unmarked privilege in potentially productive ways, but the reproduction of colonial viewing relations means that whiteness remains centred. The paper concludes by attempting to destabilise the centre by bringing the discussion of the relation between suffering and sovereignty closer to “home”.
Keywords: documentary photography; whiteness; spectatorship; suffering; vulnerability
Rights: © 2009 Taylor & Francis
RMID: 0020096653
DOI: 10.1080/10350330902815816
Appears in Collections:Gender Studies and Social Analysis publications

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