By Luc Boltanski
Photographs of ravenous kids, bombed villages and mass graves dropped at us by way of tv within the convenience of our houses implicitly name on us to behave. What do we do whilst the pain we see is so far-off and we think powerless in comparison with the forces in the back of the ache? Luc Boltanski examines the ways that, because the finish of the eighteenth century, spectators have attempted to reply acceptably to what they've got visible, and discusses even if there continues to be a spot for pity in sleek politics.
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Additional resources for Distant Suffering: Morality, Media and Politics (Cambridge Cultural Social Studies)
The causal responsibility may itself be active or passive, through perpetuation or omission. If then moral responsibility belongs first and foremost to the person who caused the suﬀering, it can also be imputed to the person who knew about it but did nothing to prevent it. 34 According to A. 35 Responsibility can derive from prior commitments which may be: (1) contractual – such as, for example, the professional commitments of a doctor who fails to help an injured person; (2) natural – like family commitments, which are close to the communitarian relationship.
In the absence of this network there would be the risk of information following pre-existing pathways, taking the obligatory routes, collecting in pockets and forming an incoherent mish-mash. Taking sides 29 This ability presupposes someone vague, without definite substance, someone with no precise place or definite opinion, someone who has no commitment in the sense that no particular situation detains him or prevents him from moving on elsewhere and whose raison d’être is like that of a spy – to observe, listen and report.
Now, as we have seen, having knowledge of suﬀering points to an obligation to give assistance. Why else present a spectacle of suﬀering human beings to unconcerned people if not to draw their attention to it and so direct them to action? 1 It is by speaking up that the spectator can maintain his integrity when, brought face to face with suﬀering, he is called upon to act in a situation in which direct action is diﬃcult or impossible. Now even if this speech is initially no more than an internal whisper to himself (the spectator being alone in a room with no one else to speak to, for example), none the less in principle it contains a requirement of publicity.
Distant Suffering: Morality, Media and Politics (Cambridge Cultural Social Studies) by Luc Boltanski