Guardare e agire: la dimensione etica nella rappresentazione mediale dell’altro - Anna Manzato - Vita e Pensiero - Articolo Comunicazioni Sociali Vita e Pensiero

Guardare e agire: la dimensione etica nella rappresentazione mediale dell’altro

newdigital Guardare e agire: la dimensione etica nella rappresentazione mediale dell’altro
Article
Journal COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI
Issue COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI - 2022 - 2. Sustainable Screenings: Economic, Touristic and Cultural Impact of Audiovisual Productions on the Host Locations in the Post-Lockdown Era
Title Guardare e agire: la dimensione etica nella rappresentazione mediale dell’altro
Watching and Seeing: The Ethical Dimension in Mediated Representation of the Other
Author
Publisher Vita e Pensiero
Format Article | Pdf
Online da 11-2022
Doi 10.26350/001200_000161
Issn 0392-8667 (print) | 1827-7969 (digital)
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Literature about distant suffering suggests that mass media are nowadays primary vehicles in representing the suffering Other, thus eliciting in the audience attitudes that span from denial to compassion. Media images are  particularly able to trigger reactions that can be situated along a closeness/distance axis. In this context, the ethical dimension is especially relevant: the main question is about how stylistic strategies (both on the content level and  in images’ position and captions) can bring the audience to occupy a specific position towards the suffering Other. The article, starting from the sociological concept of the foreign, discusses literature, both theoretical and empirical,  about distant suffering; it assumes the presence of a relevant polarization between closeness and distance in the media representation of suffering others. Through an analysis based on a qualitative sample of Italian newspapers, the article then deals with representation strategies of the distant Other in press images and with their ethical implications. Following Kurasawa’s typology, four types are exemplified: personification, massification, rescue and care.  In the sample, an iconic narration of a collective subject mostly appears, thus leaving pity and compassion in the background. Finally, the transition from spectatorship to active subject is discussed: solidarity through images can be  encouraged if an affective closeness is promoted, by means of specific portraits of subjects and of rescue and care situations.

keywords

Representation of the Other; ethical implications of representation; distant suffering; audience responses to distant suffering; closeness/distance in media images of the Other.

Author biography

Università IULM, Milano ‒ anna.manzato@iulm.it

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Anno: 2022 - n. 2

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