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POLITICS OF SHOWING AND LOOKING


Although political action is often associated with decision-making and rhetoric, it is by no means limited to the realm of speech. The practice of politics also involves showing. Politics employs forms of visualisation and presentation as means of appealing to citizens to elicit certain feelings, create consensus or conflict, and build support for specific political interests. Looking as a political practice is the flipside of the political practice of showing. Political presentation functions only when understood by its spectators, and it therefore relies on figures, metaphors, icons and perspectives with which those spectators are familiar. Looking has its own political dimension that originates from and is determined by hermeneutic preconceptions. Religious symbols can play a crucial role in the political practices of showing and looking, evidence of the enormous political potential of religious language and aesthetics.

 

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