An aesthetics of fear: the 7/7 London bombings, the sublime, and Werenotafraid.com

Weber, Cynthia (2006) An aesthetics of fear: the 7/7 London bombings, the sublime, and Werenotafraid.com. Millennium, 34 (3). pp. 683-710. ISSN 0305-8298

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Abstract

How are the aesthetics of fear politically mobilised and politically mobilising? This article directs this question to a specific series of events beginning with the bombing of the London transportation system on 7/7, the near repeat performance of this event on 7/21, and the 'Shoot to Kill to Protect' policy's first application which resulted in the killing of electrician jean Charles de Menezes on 7/22. In particular, it addresses itself to one specific aestheticisation of fear, the images posted on the website Werenotafraid.com and the incessant circulation and discussion of these images since 7/7. The article argues that the asetheticisation. of the London bombings through this specific website illustrates the often overlooked second movement in the Kantian sublime: the movement from rupture to a restoration of order and of closure. What interests me are the aesthetic strategies by which Werenotafraid.com effects a restoration of order and gives closure to the breakdown of the British imagination, of not only national security but also unity. This article first traces the reliance of these aesthetic strategies on a Kantian morality. It then explains how these Kantian-inflected strategies repair the breakdown of the British imagination of security through a very specific 'panhuman' restoration of British unity. Finally, it analyses the failures of the Werenotafraid.com project, politically and morally.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Cynthia Weber
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:25
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2012 09:35
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/12360
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