Visual Securitization: Taking Security Studies from the Word to the Image

Lectures Talks and Workshops, Social Sciences
Thursday 23rd January 2014 (17:00-18:30)
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Leigh-Ann Cragg
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Contact phone number: 0121 414 8398

The ICCS Seminar Series continues on 23 January with a talk by Professor Lene Hansen (University of Copenhagen). Images can generate international conflict and harm countries' reputation. 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, 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. What analytical and methodological challenges arise when we move from theorizing security as a speech act or linguistic discourse to an image act? Lene Hansen is a Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. She is the author of Security as Practice: Discourse Analysis and the Bosnian War (Routledge, 2006) and The Evolution of International Security Studies (with Barry Buzan, Cambridge University Press, 2009)