Discordant Affects: Ambivalence, Banality, and the Ethics of Spectatorship

Title:
Discordant Affects: Ambivalence, Banality, and the Ethics of Spectatorship
Authors:
Adelman, Rebecca A.; Kozol, Wendy
Abstract:
This article examines images of conflict zones whose discordant affects, such as banality, place them at odds with conventional representations of the violent impacts of war. Such images pose a valuable dilemma for viewers expecting visual media to depict spectacularized forms of suffering. We invoke the intentionally paradoxical concept of ethical spectatorship—which marks the tensions between conditions and practices of spectatorship and the imperative to establish ethical orientations toward the suffering others that spectators often encounter in visual media—and suggest that banality creates disruptive possibilities for its cultivation. We argue that ambivalent visual confrontations that do not offer the viewer intellectual or emotional inspiration can provoke moments of critical engagement with the politics that motivate desires to look.
Citation:
Adelman, Rebecca A. and Wendy Kozol. 2014. “Discordant Affects: Ambivalence, Banality, and the Ethics of Spectatorship.” Theory & Event 17(3).
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
DATE ISSUED:
2014
Department:
Comparative American Studies
Type:
Article
Additional Links:
https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/theory_and_event/v017/17.3.adelman.html
PERMANENT LINK:
http://hdl.handle.net/11282/566845

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorAdelman, Rebecca A.en
dc.contributor.authorKozol, Wendyen
dc.date.accessioned2015-08-13T10:35:24Zen
dc.date.available2015-08-13T10:35:24Zen
dc.date.issued2014en
dc.identifier.citationAdelman, Rebecca A. and Wendy Kozol. 2014. “Discordant Affects: Ambivalence, Banality, and the Ethics of Spectatorship.” Theory & Event 17(3).en
dc.identifier.issn1092-311Xen
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11282/566845en
dc.description.abstractThis article examines images of conflict zones whose discordant affects, such as banality, place them at odds with conventional representations of the violent impacts of war. Such images pose a valuable dilemma for viewers expecting visual media to depict spectacularized forms of suffering. We invoke the intentionally paradoxical concept of ethical spectatorship—which marks the tensions between conditions and practices of spectatorship and the imperative to establish ethical orientations toward the suffering others that spectators often encounter in visual media—and suggest that banality creates disruptive possibilities for its cultivation. We argue that ambivalent visual confrontations that do not offer the viewer intellectual or emotional inspiration can provoke moments of critical engagement with the politics that motivate desires to look.en
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.publisherJohns Hopkins University Pressen
dc.relation.urlhttps://muse.jhu.edu/journals/theory_and_event/v017/17.3.adelman.htmlen
dc.subject.departmentComparative American Studiesen
dc.titleDiscordant Affects: Ambivalence, Banality, and the Ethics of Spectatorshipen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.identifier.journalTheory & Eventen
dc.identifier.volume17en
dc.identifier.issue3en
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