Argumentum ad misericordiam: the cultural politics of victim media

Munt, Sally R (2016) Argumentum ad misericordiam: the cultural politics of victim media. Feminist Media Studies. ISSN 1468-0777

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Abstract

This article discusses the widespread use of victim tropes in contemporary Anglo-American culture by using cultural theory to analyse key social media memes circulating on Facebook in 2015. Since the growth of social media, victim stories have been proliferating, and each demands a response. Victim narratives are rhetorical, they are designed to elicit pity and shame the perpetrator. They are deployed to stimulate political debate and activism, as well as to appeal to an all-purpose humanitarianism. Victimology has its origins in Law and Criminology, but this paper opens up the field more broadly to think about the cultural politics of victimhood, to consider how the victim-figure can be appropriated by/for different purposes, particularly racial and gender politics, including in the case of Rachel Dolezal, and racial passing. In formulating an ethical response to the lived experience of victims, we need to think about the different kinds of critical intimacies
elicited by such media.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Victimhood, Shame, Social media, Cultural politics, Race/ethnicity
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2016 08:45
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2017 12:07
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/65260

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