Beyond Photo Ops and Propaganda: The Role of Visual Culture in the Development of Policy in the Public Sphere
Carlton, Sue E.
The study of political behavior is typically guided by the specialized vocabularies of political science, sociology, psychology and economics. Yet, the languages of these fields are alien to the daily lives of average citizens. With theories drawn from the ancient Greek polis and the salons of the Enlightenment, contemporary discussions of politics and policy are conducted within the framework of the intellectual life. This approach is more suited for the philosopher and the world of thought rather than the citizen and the world of action.The writings of Jürgen Habermas provide a framework in which to explore the settings in which people interact. Through his deliberations on the public sphere it is possible to gauge citizen behavior on more representative benchmarks. Habermas provides a context in which to place authoritatively the visual in opinion development.The role of the visual is largely unrecognized in the analysis of political behavior. The contemporary emphasis on the theoretical and analytic should not overlook the obvious routines of daily by which art informs the public sphere.
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