Johannes von Engelhardt: Regarding the Pain of Others: Representations and Perceptions of Mediated Distant Suffering (2011-2016)

Johannes von Engelhardt: Regarding the Pain of Others: Representations and Perceptions of Mediated Distant Suffering

01-03-2011 – 29-02-2016
Erasmus University Rotterdam / Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Promotor: Prof. Dr. Jeroen Jansz

This project focuses on the mass media in their function of carrying stories and (audio-) visuals of suffering in developing countries into the lives of Western media audiences.

Much of the existing research in this field has focused on the way the media have portrayed human tragedies in times of imminent humanitarian disaster (e.g. the earthquake in Haiti) or long-term, structural large-scale suffering in the developing world (e.g. the HIV/Aids epidemic in Africa). Authors of these media representation studies often implicitly or explicitly assume certain effects of the coverage of suffering on audiences. However, surprisingly little actual empirical investigations can be found into audiences’ responses to and interpretations of mediated large-scale suffering. This project aims to fill part of this significant gap in the literature by looking into the ways in which Western audiences respond to and make sense of mediated human suffering in distant places.