Chapter 7. The politics of visual representation

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The verbal activation of mental images in security discourse is a most elusive dimension of the political use of images, The ‘productive’ effects of security discourse concern the sense of collective safety and the re-orientation of fear and aggressiveness from ‘us’ to ‘them’. The anamorphic analysis of the mental imagery of the ‘war on terror’ is the analytical ground or the ‘oblique perspective’ from which questions concerning who gets what when and now can be addressed. The political role of visual communication goes beyond the morphological characteristics of the images and the processes of material production, distribution and consumption, but reaches deep into the human mind as a form of ‘invisible technology’ capable of subverting the perception of the social world.


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