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The Spectatorship of Suffering
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The Spectatorship of Suffering


June 2006 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

"The work is on an important topic that has been oft debated but rarely systematically studied – the political, cultural, and moral effects of distant news coverage of suffering. [The book] is extremely well steeped in the relevant literature, including semiotics, discourse analysis, meda and social theory and makes a fresh methodological contribution by looking at the codes and formats of news about suffering. It has a fresh vision and answer to some of the stickiest moral and media problems of our time … and deserves to find its place among important books about the moral aspects of media and society in our times."

—John D. Peters, F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor, University of Ohio

This book is about the relationship between the spectators in countries of the west, and the distant sufferer on the television screen; the sufferer in Somalia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, but also from New York and Washington DC. How do we relate to television images of the distant sufferer? The question touches on the ethical role of the media in public life today. They address the issue of whether the media can cultivate a disposition of care for and engagement with the far away other; whether television can create a global public with a sense of social responsibility towards the distant sufferer.


 
Introduction
Distant Suffering on Television  
 
Mediation and Public Life
 
The Paradoxes of Mediation
 
Mediation, Meaning and Power
 
The Analytics of Mediation
 
Adventure News
Suffering without Pity  
 
Emergency News
Suffering without Pity  
 
Ecstatic News
Suffering and Identification  
 
Mediation and Action
 
The Cosmopolitan Public

A very engaging and thorough account of the relationship between the media and understandings of suffering.

Dr Gabe Mythen
School of Sociology & Social Policy, Liverpool University
September 28, 2010

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