The news of recent mobilizations in Arab, European, and North-American countries quickly spread across the globe. Well before written reports analyzing the unfolding mobilizations, images of protests circulated widely through television channels, print newspapers, internet websites, and social media platforms. Pictures and videos of squares full of people protesting against their governments became the symbols of a new wave of contention that quickly spread from Tunisia to many other countries. Pictures and videos showing the gathering of people in Tahrir square (Egypt), Puerta del Sol (Spain), and Zuccotti Park (United States) quickly became vivid tools of “countervisuality” (Mirzoeff, 2011) that opposed the roaring grassroots political participation of hundreds of thousands people to the silent decisions taken in government and corporation buildings by small groups of politicians and managers. The presence, and relevance, of images in mobilizations of social movements is no novelty. Encounters with social movements have always been intrinsically tied to the visual sense. Activists articulate visual messages, their activities are represented in photos and video sequences, and they are ultimately rendered visible, or invisible, in the public sphere. Social movements produce and evoke images, either as a result of a planned, explicit, and strategic effort, or accidentally, in an unintended or undesired manner. At the same time, social movements are perceived by external actors and dispersed audiences via images which are produced both by themselves and others.
Doerr, N., Mattoni, A. and Teune, S. (2013), "Toward a Visual Analysis of Social Movements, Conflict, and Political Mobilization", Doerr, N., Mattoni, A. and Teune, S. (Ed.) Advances in the Visual Analysis of Social Movements (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 35), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. xi-xxvi. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-786X(2013)0000035004Download as .RIS
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