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47.1 - Visibilities of Violence

Special Issue – Thomas Hoebel, Jo Reichertz & René Tuma (Eds.): Visibilities of Violence: Microscopic Studies of Violent Events and Beyond.

Audiovisual recordings of violent situations have spread widely in recent decades and are now available en masse. This kind of mediatization of social communication has opened up new perspectives for empirical violence research as well as for theoretical perspectives. Not only has the so-called video revolution 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. However, 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. This goes not only for the question of what forms of violence are represented in the recordings, but also from which perspective. Therefore, the limitations of micrological and visual studies of violence also need to be discussed.

This special issue first presents an overview of current studies on violent phenomena that focus on video data, link audio-visual data with other types of data, or contrast interpretative analyses with and also without the availability of video data. In a second part, studies of violent events and their reflection on them serve above all to make methodological, epistemological, and social-theoretical proposals for further research into (in-)visibilities of violence. The contributions here meet each other in that they make quite strong temporal arguments. The third part of this special issue is reserved for contributions dealing with very fundamental problems of audio-visual analysis of violence. These include the physical involvement of researchers, ethical questions, and social theoretical understandings.