Distant Suffering: Morality, Media and Politics
Distant Suffering, first published in 1999, examines the moral and political implications for a spectator of the distant suffering of others as presented through the media. What are the morally acceptable responses to the sight of suffering on television, for example, when the viewer cannot act directly to affect the circumstances in which the suffering takes place? Luc Boltanski argues that spectators can actively involve themselves and others by speaking about what they have seen and how they were affected by it. Developing ideas in Adam Smith's moral theory, he examines three rhetorical 'topics' available for the expression of the spectator's response to suffering: the topics of denunciation and of sentiment and the aesthetic topic. The book concludes with a discussion of a 'crisis of pity' in relation to modern forms of humanitarianism. A possible way out of this crisis is suggested which involves an emphasis and focus on present suffering.
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accusation actors Adam Smith aesthetic topic argument Bataille Baudelaire benefactor Bernard Kouchner called character commitment communication concern criticism debate demonstration denounced distance distant suffering effect eighteenth century emotion evil example expression fact fictional Gallimard Genealogy of Morality Georges Bataille Gilles Deleuze give Hannah Arendt Hardback 0 521 human humanitarian movement Ibid identified imagination indignation individuals interest Jean-Paul Sartre judgement justice Kouchner linked manifestation Marquis de Sade Marxism Maurice Blanchot Maurice Merleau-Ponty mediatisation Merleau-Ponty misfortune Moral Sentiments natural Nietzsche novel objects painter Paris particular persecutor person Pierre Favre Pierre Klossowski pleasure politics of pity possibility precisely present public sphere question reality relationship representation Sade Sartre seen sense situation social someone spectacle of suffering spectator spectator's speech tastes television tender-heartedness Theory of Moral tion topic of denunciation topic of sentiment transl uncertainty unfortunate unfortunate's suffering University Press unmasking victims
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