Visual Communication Research and War

Authored by: Michael Griffin

Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in Military Studies

Print publication date:  June  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415635332
eBook ISBN: 9780203093801
Adobe ISBN: 9781136203312


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“Picturing the Gulf War” attempts to account for the visual representation of war as a potentially independent and influential component of news coverage of military conflicts. The research was a direct response to media reporting of the 1991 Gulf War, which widely purported to provide ongoing, “live” pictorial coverage of the conflict. During and after the war a great deal of impressionistic commentary presumed that visual images were the driving force in news reporting on the war. Indeed, it was described as a “living room war” for readers and audiences. Yet, no systematic research actually charted the nature, frequency and role of published or broadcast war visuals. The tendency to treat pictures as direct and uncomplicated reflections of reality with instinctively presumed effects, together with the difficulties of quantifying and measuring analogic visual material, effectively forestalled more systematic analysis.

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