'Match nous a raconté une histoire': Thinking with Roland Barthes about Photography, Publics and the Exercise of Power in Post-war France

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

In its classic formulation by Jürgen Habermas, the central function of the public sphere in liberal democracies is to be a space of debate and contestation. As Habermas puts it, the public sphere is where citizens ‘confer in an unrestricted fashion’; and, we might add, participation in the public sphere constitutes private individuals as citizens. Moreover, as citizens, their role is to hold the state to account by performing ‘the tasks of criticism and control which a public body of citizens informally … practices vis-à-vis the ruling structure organized in the form of a state’. Michel Foucault pursued the relationship between civil society and the state in his lectures at the Collège de France in the mid-1970s. Foucault argued that the emergence of civil society is an effect, or more strongly, a necessary product, of the practice of power by the state.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhotography and Its Publics
EditorsMelissa Miles, Edward Welch
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Chapter4
Pages63-78
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781350054998
ISBN (Print)9781350054967
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • photography
  • photography theory
  • public culture
  • visual culture
  • public sphere
  • counterpublics

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