The limits of visualization

Ocularcentrism and organization

Authored by: Donncha Kavanagh

The Routledge Companion to Visual Organization

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415783675
eBook ISBN: 9780203725610
Adobe ISBN: 9781135005474


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We live in a spectatorial society, where we are bombarded by visual images, and where conversations are littered with visual metaphors. This chapter seeks to ground this empirical reality through considering the position in discourse of visual or ocular metaphors. Succinctly, it seeks to understand ocularcentrism – a paradigm or epistemology based on visual or ocular metaphors – and its limits. The chapter begins by outlining the characteristics and development of the paradigm, and the different ways in which it has been critiqued by philosophers, social theorists and political scientists. These critiques are classified into three trajectories which, informed by the original paradigm, constitute a ‘meta-theoretical’ framework – schematically depicted in Figure 4.1. Figure 4.1 Meta-theoretical trajectories

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