Image operations: Visual media and political conflict

Image operations: Visual media and political conflict

Edited by Jens Eder and Charlotte Klonk

Publisher: Manchester University Press

Published Date: December 2016


Still and moving images are crucial factors in contemporary political conflicts. They not only have representational, expressive or illustrative functions, but also augment and create significant events. Beyond altering states of mind, they affect bodies and often life or death is at stake. Various forms of image operations are currently performed in the contexts of war, insurgency and activism. Photographs, videos, interactive simulations and other kinds of images steer drones to their targets, train soldiers, terrorise the public, celebrate protest icons, uncover injustices, or call for help. They are often parts of complex agential networks and move across different media and cultural environments. This book is a pioneering interdisciplinary study of the role and function of images in political life. Balancing theoretical reflections with in-depth case studies, it brings together renowned scholars and activists from different fields to offer a multifaceted critical perspective on a crucial aspect of contemporary visual culture.



Jens Eder is Professor in Media and Communication Studies at the University of Mannheim.

Charlotte Klonk is Professor in Art History and New Media at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.



Introduction – Jens Eder and Charlotte Klonk

Part I: Using images: metaphors, processes, affects

1 Images of the world, images of conflict – Ben O’Loughlin

2 Worldmaking frame by frame – Zeynep Devrim Gürsel

3 Working images: Harun Farocki and the operational image – Volker Pantenburg

4 Affective image operations – Jens Eder

5 Method, madness, and montage: assemblages of images and the production of knowledge – W.J.T. Mitchell

Part II: Images in warfare, insurgency and counterinsurgency

6 Image operations: refracting control from virtual reality to the digital battlefield – Timothy Lenoir and Luke Caldwell

7 Sensorship: the seen unseen of drone warfare – Tom Holert

8 Images that last? Iraq videos from YouTube to WikiLeaks – Christian Christensen

9 Images of terror – Charlotte Klonk

10 The making and gendering of a martyr: images of female suicide bombers in the Middle East – Verena Straub

11 Photographic archives and archival entities – Ariella Azoulay

Part III: Image activism and political movements

12 Exposing the invisible: visual investigation and conflict – Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszynski

13 Human rights in an age of distant witnesses: remixed lives, reincarnated images and live-streamed co-presence – Sam Gregory

14 The hunger striker: a case for embodied visuality – Bishnupriya Ghosh

15 The visual commons: counter-power in photography from slavery to Occupy Wall Street – Nicholas Mirzoeff

Afterword – James Elkins