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Thomas Hoebel, Jo Reichertz & René Tuma: Visibilities of Violence. On Visual Violence Research and Current Methodological Challenges. [Abstract]

The presence of (audio-)visual recordings of violent situations has opened up new perspectives for empirical violence research as well as for theoretical perspectives. Not only has this mediatization allowed for the public visibility and critical discourse on violent events, but social scientific methods have also moved towards the microscopic study of visible forms of violent events. Violence is a contested term and social researchers in particular wrestle with the question of which methodologies and methods are both appropriate and suitable for studying violence. We discuss how the theoretical development is connected to the visual data and the agenda can only be understood if we are clear about the extent to which social research itself is mediatized. The following chapters elaborate on specific research development that we call “new microscopy.” Against this background, we see a central challenge that violence research working with visual data in particular is heading towards. It consists in describing violent situations in an ultra-detailed way and at the same time being sensitive to at least three problems, which we approximate as underestimated embeddedness, presence bias, and visibility bias. We conclude by outlining what the issue may contribute to this debate.

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