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The Politics of Pictures

"The Politics of Pictures" searches for the public in the realm of media, where citizens are now literally represented on screen and page. John Hartley investigates popular media reality, showing how pictures and texts are powerful political forces in their own right. He embarks on a wide-ranging and sometimes bizarre journey of discovery, using an amazing variety of primary texts to explore the way publics have been created, and the political uses of media audiences.
"The Politics of Pictures" is a history of looking, from Aristotle to TV audiences, from the invention of photography to the meaning of picnics, from "Leviathan" to synchronized swimming, Dr. Johnson to the sexualization of war. Its unconventional approach is designed to show how popular reality looks to itself, and how its peculiar forms and connections actually challenge some venerable political and philosophical truths.
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"John Hartley is the Kurt Vonnegut of cultural studies...a superb writer with a cosmic curiosity. "The Politics of Pictures is the nearest thing there is to an acid trip in cultural studies. It will be an immensely popular and successful book, like McLuhan's writing for much the same reason.."-James Curran

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