Trauma, mediation, global crisis

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Abstract

This paper approaches the widening interest in trauma and disaster in academic research, popular fictions, and media culture during the last few decades in relation to two contemporary developments: the arrival of the information revolution and the emergence of the ‘new media’, on the one hand, and the emergence of discourses of globalisation, on the other. It demonstrates the ways in which trauma has always been implicated in technological formations since its earliest theorisations and illustrates the ways in which it has been seen as a concept to encapsulate the experience of ‘postmodern media culture’, in relation to two arguments: first, that the experience of the new media resembles the structure and temporality of trauma; second, that the new media are now the major site in which trauma is represented, witnessed, or even rendered as traumatic in the first place. Specifically, the paper will discuss the equivalences between trauma and the two definitions of ‘mediation’, as infiltration and communication/transmissibility. Discussion of the first definition will lead to an examination of the ethics of representation of disaster in ‘media events’, whereas the discussion of the second will lead to an analysis of the ways in which globalisation has been increasing associated with disaster and trauma, in two senses: a material sense, whereby globalisation is increasingly seen as responsible for natural and human-made disasters; and a conceptual sense, whereby globalisation is often theorised with metaphors of crisis, apocalypse, and trauma. The paper will conclude with an examination of the ethics behind this general theoretical tendency to turn into a methodological tool a concept that is essentially about human suffering.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedia and cosmopolitanism
EditorsA. Yilmaz, R. Trandafoiu, A. Mousoutzanis
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherPeter Lang
Pages253-268
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783035306637
ISBN (Print)9783034309691
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameNew Visions of the Cosmopolitan

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Mousoutzanis, A. (2015). Trauma, mediation, global crisis. In A. Yilmaz, R. Trandafoiu, & A. Mousoutzanis (Eds.), Media and cosmopolitanism (pp. 253-268). (New Visions of the Cosmopolitan). Oxford, UK: Peter Lang.