Images and human rights: towards sovereignty or subversion

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Phoenix, Michael
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Global Campus of Human Rights
The aim of this thesis is to investigate the impact of images upon the human rights movement. It will examine the potential of images to advance and repress human rights by drawing out trends in the ways images are formed and used in human rights contexts. It will consider the extent to which access to the protective web that human rights might provide is mediated visually; the extent to which visual representations determine who can and cannot be seen through the lens of human rights. It will find that two forces are engaged in a struggle for control over this lens, and that this can be seen in specific ways in which human rights images are being created, used and interacted with. It will be argued that the effects of this play out on the plane of intersubjectivity, the space in which human rights violations emerge and in which they might be remedied and prevented. Key words: images, sovereignty, subversion, control, collaboration, political imagination
Second semester University: Université Libre de Bruxelles.
photography, human rights, freedom of expression, sovereignty, communication, violence