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April 15, 2009

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Photography and Citizenship

Really love this argument, which seems to be that photography helps establish the idea of “lots of other people in your society” which, in turn, helps you understand your own role as a citizen. So that raises the question: How did that work before photography? How has our conception of “everybody else in my country” changed?

This image, linked to from the first post, is also terrific.

And it all makes me think of Nick Calcott’s writing about photography at On Shadow, which deserves more time and response — to come!

Posted April 15, 2009 at 2:44 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted


Funny you should ask! One of the big-idea people in "The Social Life of Documents" is Benedict Anderson; his book Imagined Communities argues that print, and particularly the newspaper, plays a huge role in shaping our sense of the nation, conceived partly as a media-mediated reading public. So you read something like Common Sense, and you think everyone else in the colonies is reading it, and that in no small part helps establish in your mind that there's a nation emerging.

(Common Sense is, in this sense, the Super Bowl/Moon Landing of the American Revolution.)

But photography as citizenship? yeah, that's a really cool idea.

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