Representing violence through media

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this chapter Jolyon Mitchell analyses how audiences, journalists and producers interact with media representations of violence. More precisely he examines the practices of revealing, representing, redacting, remembering, and responding to mediated images of violence, using a wide range of examples from different media. While recognizing the power of vivid journalistic written and verbal descriptions of violence, through this essay Mitchell primarily considers visual representations over the last two centuries, starting from the 1810s, in the decade before the first photograph (c.1826), to the present day, concentrating upon non-cinematic examples, such as photographic portrayals of non-fictional violence. Other practices such as hiding, selecting, overlooking, forgetting and recollecting are juxtaposed with these core practices of revealing, representing, redacting, remembering and responding. Mitchell argues that these related practices contribute to the way violence manifests itself around the circuit of communication, which begins with acts of creation and production of images of violence, and which is then followed by their dissemination, reception and recycling. Reflecting further on this circuit of communication and these related practices helps answer questions such as: Why do certain images of violence receive more attention than others? Why are some media representations of violence remembered and others easily forgotten?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge World History of Violence
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 4: 1800 to the Present
EditorsLouise Edwards, Nigel Penn, Jay Winter
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9781316585023
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2020

Publication series

NameThe Cambridge World History
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • violence
  • media
  • communication
  • journalists
  • visual representations
  • photography
  • remembering
  • forgetting
  • audiences
  • reception


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