Who cares for which dead and how? British newspaper reporting of the bombings in London, July 2005.
Geoforum, 40(1) pp. 46–54.
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The paper begins with the recent interest in what Mbembe has called ‘necropolitics’: the politics of the distribution of life and death by modern sovereign states. The necropolitical works through the production of spatialities, visualities, and bodies that are classed, racialised and gendered in particular ways. The paper explores a series of such productions in its discussion of the British press coverage of the bombs that exploded on London’s public transport system on 7 July 2005, and in particular the photographs used by the newspapers. It argues that the newspapers pictured bodies as gendered and racialised, with the former fixed and visible much more clearly than the latter. It further argues that the newspapers differentiated between various bodies by assuming that a certain sort of care was deserved only by some of those involved in the bombings. Finally, the paper examines how the coverage worked to place the readers of the newspapers in a specific position in the necropolitical order of power as citizens who care only for certain people, and in a particular way. The paper concludes by considering the implications of that specific caring for contemporary necropolitics and its visualities and spatialities.
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