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Cover for Seeing and Being Seen: Toward a Liberal Democratic Theory of Spectatorship
dc.contributor.advisorBoyd, Richard A
dc.creator
dc.date.accessioned2019-09-16T16:53:49Z
dc.date.available2019-09-16T16:53:49Z
dc.date.created2019
dc.date.issued
dc.date.submitted01/01/2019
dc.identifier.uri
dc.descriptionPh.D.
dc.description.abstractDigital media provides us with many ways of satisfying our desires to see and be seen. Democratic theorists have introduced concepts such as “audience democracy,” “ocular power,” and “spectatorship” to emphasize the experiences of watching in contemporary politics. Can the people exert power over political leaders simply by watching them, or are spectators subject to the power of those they watch? How can we understand the conundrum that being seen can be potentially oppressive to an individual, who is subjected to the scrutiny of the watcher, but also empowering, as those on the public stage influence what is seen and how they are seen?
dc.description.abstractDemocratic theorists have focused on the people’s experiences as spectators of their political leaders, with little consideration of the people’s experiences of being seen. By conceptualizing spectatorship as a socially embedded and dual-ended process that affects both those who see and those who are seen, I examine the ways various forms of inequalities – social, economic, and political – may shape experiences of being seen.
dc.description.abstractI turn to the works of Thomas Hobbes, Jeremy Bentham, and Adam Smith to show how ideas about seeing and being seen have been a part of ideas about representative government and liberalism for centuries and can illuminate contemporary ethical and political questions about accountability, media, privacy, and surveillance. Each thinker brings into focus a different perspective: the state seeing its subjects and controlling what they see, the democratic citizens overseeing the state, and individuals observing each other. I attend to particular epistemic, psychological, and affective aspects of spectatorship while also highlighting how inequalities mediate such experiences. Watching can be an experience of subjection for spectators, but they can also actively make moral and political judgments. The power of political leaders can be exacerbated by their enjoyment of an audience, whereas unjust public scrutiny can be disproportionately directed toward the vulnerable. I argue the people’s abilities to influence the images of politics that all see as well as their autonomy to control the terms of their appearances to others are crucial components of liberal democratic spectatorship.
dc.formatPDF
dc.format.extent230 leaves
dc.languageen
dc.publisherGeorgetown University
dc.sourceGeorgetown University-Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
dc.sourceGovernment
dc.subjectAdam Smith
dc.subjectDemocracy
dc.subjectInequality
dc.subjectJeremy Bentham
dc.subjectLiberalism
dc.subjectSpectatorship
dc.subject.lcshPolitical Science
dc.subject.otherPolitical science
dc.titleSeeing and Being Seen: Toward a Liberal Democratic Theory of Spectatorship
dc.typethesis
dc.identifier.orcid0000-0002-4420-2873


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