Terrorism, governmentality and the simulated city: the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for suspect two

Topinka, Robert (2016) Terrorism, governmentality and the simulated city: the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for suspect two. Visual Communication, 15 (3). pp. 351-370. ISSN 1470-3572

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Abstract

This article examines the online circulation of a photograph of the immediate aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings taken by David Green, a Boston Marathon runner. The photograph fortuitously captured an image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger Tsarnaev brother, running from the scene. Initially, Tsarnaev went unnoticed by online message board users and FBI investigators – he was just another face in the urban crowd. However, after he was identified as suspect two, he emerged in the photograph as the figure of terror, the condensed embodiment of the spectacular attack, and thus as a spectre, a figure whose appearance in the archive of the past haunts the future. The author examines how this spectral emergence simultaneously reveals the attack terrorism launches against everyday mediations and how everyday mediations respond to terrorist spectacle. He argues that photography sustains vernacular practices that also support the practices of urban governmentality. Understanding urban governmentality thus requires attending to the urban archive of visual mediation in which the relationships between past and present, image and reality, and surveillance and spectacle are always contingent and open to revision.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Depositing User: Robert Topinka
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2016 14:15
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 03:59
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/63464

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