‘Digital dilemmas for visual global politics’

Dr Rhys Crilley, The Open University

EISA 11th Pan European Conference, Barcelona, 13-16 September 2017.

This article builds upon recent literature on the role of visual media in global politics by arguing for a greater consideration of the impact of digital technology and social media platforms on the ways in which images are produced, circulated, and received in the contemporary media ecology. By drawing upon recent work in the field of visual sociology, I highlight how current approaches to visual global politics are currently limited in their applicability to the digital realm. I do so by introducing several digital dilemmas that impact on the study of visual global politics. These include; 1) the proliferation of images on social media platforms; 2) the centrality of images to social media platforms; 3) the ways in which images function differently on social media platforms as opposed to print or broadcast media; and 4) the ways in which audiences receive and engage with images on social media platforms. In discussing these points, I argue that images are increasingly central in global politics, before then suggesting ways in which these digital dilemmas can be addressed in order to gain further insights into the important complexities of visual global politics in the digital age.