Monday, December 6, 2021

"Global Corpse Politics"

New from Cambridge University Press: Global Corpse Politics: The Obscenity Taboo by Jessica Auchter.

About the book, from the publisher:

Taboos have long been considered key examples of norms in global politics, with important strategic effects. Auchter focuses on how obscenity functions as a regulatory norm by focusing on dead body images. Obscenity matters precisely because it is applied inconsistently across multiple cases. Examining empirical cases including ISIS beheadings, the death of Muammar Qaddafi, Syrian torture victims, and the fake death images of Osama bin Laden, this book offers a rich theoretical explanation of the process by which the taboo surrounding dead body images is transgressed and upheld, through mechanisms including trigger warnings and media framings. This corpse politics sheds light on political communities and the structures in place that preserve them, including the taboos that regulate purported obscene images. Auchter questions the notion that the key debate at play in visual politics related to the dead body image is whether to display or not to display, and instead narrates various degrees of visibility, invisibility, and hyper-visibility.
--Marshal Zeringue