On the actuarial gaze: From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib

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Since the first Gulf War, we have witnessed a global repositioning of the visual communication practices, utilities and techniques of the state and media as regards political mobilization, identity formation, geographic perception, political violence, urban planning, public safety and human rights. The circulation, of anthropologically threatening images of violence, terror, covert infection and social suffering has intensified in our public culture. Examining perceptual systems of global risk, this essay asks: what is the visual structure of the historical catastrophe as mediatic event? How do visual culturos and technologies of risk and threat perception stratify sensory experience? How do visual cultures of risk affect how perpetuators and victims of violence and human rights violations depict their political experience as historical truth?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-226
Number of pages24
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Abu Ghraib
  • Aesthetics
  • Catastrophe
  • Political violence
  • Risk
  • Visual culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences


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