Faceless government: civic action in media photographs during the Venezuelan anti-governmental protests of 2017

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


Visual media representations of protests are a part of politics in general. A protest is about creating a mediated political event with its own performative bodily and emotional aspects, and cultural memory, each of which affects a sense of citizenship. This article discusses how protest photographs serve as resources for political struggle by examining the visual media stream during the 2017 anti-governmental protests in Venezuela. The data consist of (social) media content and prominent photographs. The selected photographs are then discussed using five functions of iconic photographs proposed in Hariman and Lucaites’ (2007) book, No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy, with the argument being that the context of the pictures should also be carefully considered when analysing specific photographs because it provides essential information about them. Since the pictures represented daily life and likewise had a special ‘truth effect’ and transmitted affect, they supported the opposition’s and anti-governmental protesters’ discourse on the government as a faceless enemy. This also gave room to the protesters to construct through performativity an emotional juxtaposition to the faceless power and, in this way, emphasize their humanitarian struggle. In particular, the article contributes to how visual representations function in terms of performing citizenship and the role of media photography within the context of an authoritarian government.
LehtiVisual Communication
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - helmik. 2022
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


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