Chapter 1. Images

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This introductory chapter explains what it means to reinscribe the political dimension into studying images. Ever since the ‘visual turn’ was proclaimed by W. J. T. Mitchell, images have been analysed for what they ‘do’ to their observers, for the almost magical power they seem to have. In a basic category mistake, agency is ascribed to images in the discourse of visual studies. Images, however, are merely tools in the political media discourse and society’s negotiation of values. Drawing on poststructuralist analyses of the postmodern condition in late modern societies, this article ventures forth to design an ‘images in use’ approach to visual studies, which allows us to discuss power and images in political terms.


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