'Standard Operating Procedure', 'the mystery of photography' and the politics of pity

Austin, Thomas (2011) 'Standard Operating Procedure', 'the mystery of photography' and the politics of pity. Screen, 52 (3). pp. 342-357. ISSN 0036-9543

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Abstract

This essay focuses on Errol Morris's documentary Standard Operating Procedure (2008). I consider the film's significance as an investigation of the abuse of Iraqi inmates by US personnel at Abu Ghraib prison, and as an examination of the uses and limitations of photography as visible evidence. Drawing on Luc Boltanski's work on the politics of pity, I argue that the film's achievements are ultimately limited, not only by its particular organization of the ‘topics’ of aesthetics, sentiment and denunciation, but also by the fact that, in listening to and (partially) reframing the torturers, it leaves their victims in continuing silence.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Thomas Austin
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:14
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2013 08:56
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24928
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