Media, War & Conflict
How do mass-media and media practices represent war, terrorism and conflict? How do they condition our perception of war and conflict? How do they materialize war? What are the politics, aesthetics and ethics of media practices in relation to war? How are new media today the very sites of war? Media practices—be it print, painting, radio, film, photography, television, netlocalization or social networking—play a significant role in the coverage, representation, making, performance and reenactment of wars and conflicts.
Media, War and Conflict is particularly interested in the ways in which these media practices about/around/of/on war have changed throughout history—content-wise, formally, structurally, materially and aesthetically. It also examines the ways in which media at war has (have) evolved into media of war, as made manifest in the development of cyberwarfare—an information warfare in which a nation-state hacks into an enemy nation’s computer systems to conduct sabotage and espionage.
Media, War and Conflict is also interested in the role of new-media practices in recent revolutionary movements of democratization. In “New Media and the Arab Spring” (2012), Michael Teague argues that the protests in the wake of the 2009 Iranian presidential elections were supported by a unique and innovative use of new (mainly Internet-based) social networking services, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and cellular phones: “Since then, debate about these new communications technologies has rightly had a ubiquitous presence in the overall discourse, especially with the more recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Libya, Syria and so on.” In these different uprisings, Internet activism and artistic interventions were successful, but only in a limited way: protesters used social networking sites to build online communities that served to mobilize the population, but social media did not introduce democracy in repressive regimes. Considering that these regimes were quick to use the Internet to track activists, shut down communications and spread their own propaganda, can it not be argued instead that Internet activism must be developed in conjunction with traditional grassroots activism and political structures? Media, War and Conflict considers these hypotheses but also wants to investigate how democracy is being rethought in such social processes.