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Rituals of Mediation: International Politics and Social Meaning

François Debrix
Cynthia Weber
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttq1f
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  • Book Info
    Rituals of Mediation
    Book Description:

    The authors consider international issues like security, development, political activism, and the war against terrorism through the lens of cultural practices such as traveling through airports, exhibiting art and photography, logging on to the Internet, and spinning news stories. Contributors: Robin Brown, David Campbell, Michael Dillon, Debbie Lisle, Moya Lloyd, Timothy W. Luke, Patricia L. Price, Jayne Rodgers, Marysia Zalewski._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9437-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xviii)
    François Debrix and Cynthia Weber
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  5. INTRODUCTION: Rituals of Mediation
    (pp. xxi-xlii)
    François Debrix

    Outside of a specified social context, the termmediationcan mean a lot of things. Traditionally found in theological scriptures, philosophical essays, and diplomatic treatises, mediation is now frequently employed in biology, geometry, photography, film theory, medicine, and spiritualism. Despite the wide application of the term, mediation generally denotes a few core ideas and concepts. Most commonly, mediation refers to the ability to occupy amiddle pointbetween two distant or opposite poles. To mediate is basically to provide a point of contact, an intersection, a place of communication or dialogue between two different positions.¹

    In international relations, mediation has...

  6. PART I Sites of Mediation

    • CHAPTER ONE Site Specific: Medi(t)ations at the Airport
      (pp. 3-29)
      Debbie Lisle

      With the rise in postwar global travel, chances are that most of us have entered and exited our homes via the airport. As such, we probably recognize the “triple-decker melodrama” of human interaction so evident in the various arrival and departure lounges we have passed through. Although we may experience feelings of loss, hope, anxiety, joy, adventure, homecoming, and fear in airports, we seldom think beyond these personal experiences and ask how contemporary forms of power are being produced and deployed at the airport. This essay is an attempt to think beyond our obvious experiences and ask what ispolitical...

    • CHAPTER TWO Spatializing International Activism: Genetically Modified Foods on the Internet
      (pp. 30-48)
      Jayne Rodgers

      These days it seems like activism has become truly international. We see it in antiglobalization protests from Seattle to Genoa, in antimissile protests in Yorkshire, and in the internationalization of food safety concerns such as the genetically modified foods (GMO) issue.¹ Some forms of contemporary political protest can still be explained with reference to traditional models of politics and political communication that are based on largely territorial assumptions. Others, most notably Internet-led protests, challenge—if not defy completely—traditional spatial assumptions. These forms of protest raise a key question that will be explored in this essay: how do Internet mediations...

    • CHAPTER THREE Postcards from Aztlán
      (pp. 49-66)
      Patricia L. Price

      The border, conceived both literally as the geopolitical line separating the countries of the United States of America and Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, and more generally as those lines or zones where differences come together, overlaps the diverse connotations of “mediation.” Aztlán, the mythical homeland of modern-day Aztecs, has emerged as a particularly appropriate construct for approaching the dual impulse to spatially fix collective identities in a homeland, while recognizing the difficulty of doing this in a way that explicitly calls into question the fixity of other lines. In this essay, I will literally and figuratively depart from Aztlán as...

  7. PART II Sights of Mediation

    • CHAPTER FOUR Salgado and the Sahel: Documentary Photography and the Imaging of Famine
      (pp. 69-96)
      David Campbell

      Africa is a continent already imprinted with its own peculiar photographic iconography.¹

      The African food crises of the 1980s fundamentally transformed the academic consensus on the nature of famine. In place of timeworn assumptions about the naturalized occurrence of shortages, famines were recognized as human productions, engendered as much by asymmetrical power relations in the economic, political, and social environment as by the continent’s ecology.²

      What did not change in this period, however, were the images of African famine. In the European imagination, “Africa” (itself a mythical unity) has been produced as a site of cultural, moral, and spatial difference,...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Sensationally Mediated Moralities: Innocence, Purity, and Danger
      (pp. 97-114)
      Moya Lloyd and Marysia Zalewski

      Art is supposed to mean something; it is supposed to have an effect. The exhibitionSensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collectionclearly had an effect in keeping with its self-description. One of the authors of this chapter was sitting in a crowded train compartment on the journey home from a visit to London to view theSensationexhibition. On the table, in full view, there was a copy of the catalog from the exhibition with its striking image of the tip of a tongue seemingly touching the tip of an iron (which one imagines is hot). When a...

    • CHAPTER SIX Site Improvements: Discovering Direct-Mail Retail as “B2C” Industrial Democracy
      (pp. 115-132)
      Timothy W. Luke

      This analysis investigates a few qualities of culture and space in the transnational polity as they operate now in the twenty-first century. These concerns are important if we are to understand fully the reticulations of power and knowledge on a local, national, or global level through what Baudrillard has defined as “the system of objects.” All of these terms, however, remain mutable in their meanings. And, they are constantly evolving every day in the systems at play in objects—capitalism, nationalism, technology, utility. At the same time,my goal is to begin assessing here the innumerable mediations creating many transnations behind...

  8. PART III Mediation, Cultural Governance, and the Political

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Culture, Governance, and Global Biopolitics
      (pp. 135-153)
      Michael Dillon

      There are no international relations without representation. As in science, in international politics representation is a mangle of mediatory practices.¹ Global governance refers to a particular collection of such practices. These came to prominence in the last twenty years of the twentieth century. They comprise complex technical means of managing populations. To be precise, global governance is a Foucauldian system of power/knowledge that depends on the strategic orchestration of the self-regulating freedoms of populations, the relations between whose subjects form complex and dynamic networks of power. These networks operate through the strategic manipulation of different generative principles of formation—profit,...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Spinning the World: Spin Doctors,Mediation, and Foreign Policy
      (pp. 154-172)
      Robin Brown

      A recent television documentary showed the Russian ambassador to the Court of St. James inside 10 Downing Street preparing the visit of President Putin. His preparation did not consist of negotiating geopolitical realities with Tony Blair but discussing camera angles with the prime minister’s official spokesman, his chief spin doctor, Alastair Campbell. The diplomatic mediator was attempting to influence the televisual mediation. A little later in the film we see the visit in progress. When Blair and Putin are out of the public gaze, their chief topic of discussion is how they will perform their press conference.¹ Of course, a...

  9. EPILOGUE: Romantic Mediations of September 11
    (pp. 173-188)
    Cynthia Weber

    The United States has thrice suffered surprise aerial attacks on its soil.¹ The first was by Japanese bombers at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the second by al-Qaeda terrorists in New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001, and the third by ninth-grade Palm Harbor resident Charles Bishop in Tampa, Florida, on January 5, 2002.

    In the immediate aftermath of September 11, the attack on Pearl Harbor morphed into America’s imaginary about September 11. Although the differences between the two attacks were duly noted—mainland attack versus offshore attack, targeting symbols and civilians versus targeting a military...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 189-190)
  11. Index
    (pp. 191-194)