Icons of War and Terror: Media images in an age of international risk

Warwick Blood, John Tulloch

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


This book explores the ideas of key thinkers and media practitioners who have examined images and icons of war and terror. It is time to re-think some of the strongest critical engagements with media and visual representation over the past 40 years -- not as pieties, but as challenging uncertainties, engaged with critical discourse and conventional image-making, both when they were written and now. The authors draw on these to re-investigate the media/global context of some of the most iconic images of war and terror in the international 'risk society'. Among these photojournalistic images are: Nick Ut's Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of a naked girl, Kim Phuc, running burned from a napalm attack in Vietnam in June 1972; The 'smart bomb' imagery from the Gulf War; and the terrible images of the effects of smart bombs at Amiriyah shelter; a quintessential 'ethnic cleansing' image of massacred Kosovar Albanian villagers at Racak on January 15, 1999, which finally propelled a hesitant Western alliance into the first of the 'new humanitarian wars'; Luis Simco's photograph of marine James Blake Miller, 'the Marlboro Man', at Fallujah, Iraq, 2004; the 'Shock 'n Awe' images of the invasion which preceded it; that other iconic toppling, of the World Trade Centre towers in New York by planes on September 11, 2001; and the 'Falling Man' icon -- one of the most controversial images of 9/11, which was seen around the world and then, just as suddenly, disappeared from media view; the images from Abu Ghraib that shocked the world in May 2004, of state violence to, and humiliation of, naked, hooded prisoners. the image of one of the authors of this book, as close-up victim of the 7/7 terrorist attack on London, which the media quickly labelled iconic; All of these iconic images are examined by way of theories of the visual which were current at the time they were photographed. Bringing together a wide range of social, political, literary, economic, cultural geography and art/cartoon contexts, this book will be of great interest to students of media and war, communications studies, security studies, terrorism studies and politics and IR in general.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAbingdon, UK
Number of pages232
ISBN (Print)9780415698042
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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