On_Culture. The Open Journal for the Study of Culture (Web); Guest Editors: Jana Tiborra and Katharina Wolf
Proposals by: 15.09.2021
Visibility is still a very contested and polarizing concept regarding politics of representation and discourses on agency. Especially in public debates of the Global North the topos of visibility is ascribed a predominantly positive value and it is discussed as a precondition for political agency and social recognition. It is assumed that, in order to claim specific needs, rights, and interests, subjects (or collectives) suffering from the experience of discrimination and marginalization need to ‘become visible.’
Since the 2000s, however, the relation between visibility and invisibility has been increasingly re-negotiated, leading to a reassessment of their potential for political agency. Thereby, attempts to challenge the positive connotation of visibility could draw on earlier critical approaches of visibility or the gaze (e.g. Arendt 1958, Bleiker 2018, Engel 2002, Mirzoeff 2011, Schaffer 2008, Silverman 1996, Sontag 2003, Spivak 1988). As these approaches have shown, on the one hand, visibility is enmeshed with mechanisms of othering (Fanon 1952, Hall 1997), and on the other, the commodification and marketing of a highly visible otherness (Ha 2005, hooks 1992, Huggan 2001) shows that visual regimes are deeply embedded in capitalist structures.
Consequently, concepts of invisibility, imperceptibility, or opacity are experiencing a major revaluation and becoming strategies to challenge normative regimes of representation (e.g. Deleuze/Guattari 1997, Glissant 1990, Papadopoulos/Stephenson/Tsianos 2008). Read more … (Web)