23/04/2015, 16:00 - 17:30
A seminar by Professor Lene Hansen (University of Copenhagen)
Images can generate international conflict and harm countries’ reputations. The visual’s trigger effect was illustrated by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s publication of 12 cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in 2005 that culminated in 2006 with boycotts, riots, the torching of embassies, and the death of 250 people. Or take the photographs from Abu Ghraib, or the images of the dying Iranian activist Neda Agha-Soltan from 2009 who became an icon of sacrifice and resistance. For those wanting to get new security issues onto the global agenda, the use of imagery has also turned out to be crucial – the campaigns to counter climate change would surely be worse off without the polar bears trapped on ice floes or the melting glaciers. Yet, the role of images in international relations remains understudied despite their important communicative, emotional and political features. This talk asks how we should theorize the particular form of security communication that visuals produce and the challenge they might pose to democratic processes. What analytical and methodological challenges arise when we move from theorizing security as a speech act or linguistic discourse to an image act? Can images facilitate a move out of the logic of security and towards an open, democratic dialogue, or is their securitizing potential always going to be predominant?
This event is organised by our International Studies Research Unit.