Media Witnessing: Testimony in the Age of Mass Communication

Overview

Do mass media turn us all into witnesses, and what might this mean? From the Holocaust to 9/11, modern communications systems have incessantly exposed us to reports of far-flung and often horrifying events, experienced by people whom we do not know personally, and mediated by a range of changing technologies. What is the truth status of such 'media witnessing', and how does it depend on journalists and media organizations? What are its social, cultural and political ramifications, and what kind of moral demands ...
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Media Witnessing: Testimony in the Age of Mass Communication

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Overview

Do mass media turn us all into witnesses, and what might this mean? From the Holocaust to 9/11, modern communications systems have incessantly exposed us to reports of far-flung and often horrifying events, experienced by people whom we do not know personally, and mediated by a range of changing technologies. What is the truth status of such 'media witnessing', and how does it depend on journalists and media organizations? What are its social, cultural and political ramifications, and what kind of moral demands can it make of audiences to act on behalf of suffering strangers? What are its connections to historical forms of witnessing in other fields: legal, religious and scientific? And how is it tied to technological transformations in media, transformations that bridge distances in space and time and can make ordinary people the sources of extraordinary footage?
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Why are witnesses to salient socio-political events so important in our age of global media reporting? Testimonies are sometimes the only chance to arrive at more information which would, otherwise, have been swept under the carpet. This excellent book elaborates on, and challenges, the complex and difficult roles of eye witnesses and of the media in truly innovative interdisciplinary ways. Everybody who deals with media in their everyday lives will be able to gain new insights."—Professor Ruth Wodak, Lancaster University, UK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230551497
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

PAUL FROSH teaches in the Department of Communications and Jourbanalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. His publications include The Image Factory: Consumer Culture, Photography and the Visual Culture Industry (2003) and Meeting the Enemy in the Living Room: Terrorism and Communication in the Contemporary Era (edited with Tamar Liebes, 2006).

AMIT PINCHEVSKI teaches in the Department of Communications and Jourbanalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He is the author of By Way of Interruption: Levinas and the Ethics of Communication (2005).

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Table of Contents

Introduction Why Media Witnessing? Why Now? Paul Frosh Frosh, Paul Amit Pinchevski Pinchevski, Amit 1

Pt. I Perspectives on Media Witnessing

1 Witnessing John Durham Peters Peters, John Durham 23

An Afterword: Torchlight Red on Sweaty Faces John Durham Peters Peters, John Durham 42

2 Telling Presences: Witnessing, Mass Media, and the Imagined Lives of Strangers Paul Frosh Frosh, Paul 49

3 Mundane Witness John Ellis Ellis, John 73

4 Witness as a Cultural Form of Communication: Historical Roots, Structural Dynamics, and Current Appearances Gunter Thomas Thomas, Gunter 89

5 Archaic Witnessing and Contemporary News Media Menahem Blondheim Blondheim, Menahem Tamar Liebes Liebes, Tamar 112

Pt. II Performances of Media Witnessing

6 Witnessing as a Field Tamar Ashuri Ashuri, Tamar Amit Pinchevski Pinchevski, Amit 133

7 From Danger to Trauma: Affective Labor and the Journalistic Discourse of Witnessing Carrie Rentschler Rentschler, Carrie 158

8 Scientific Witness, Testimony, and Mediation Joan Leach Leach, Joan 182

9 Witnessing Trauma on Film Roy Brand Brand, Roy 198

Index 216

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