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Sociology and the virtual:interactive mirrors, representational thinking and intensive power

Coleman, Rebecca (2013) Sociology and the virtual:interactive mirrors, representational thinking and intensive power. The Sociological Review, 61 (1). pp. 1-20. ISSN 0038-0261

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Abstract

This article explores the role of images in the workings of contemporary power. It examines one of the central ways in which sociology has approached images as representations and proposes an alternative understanding of images through the concepts of interactivity, intensity and the virtual. Focusing on the examples of three interactive mirrors, one a piece of artwork, another designed to be located in a designer shop and the other a medical mirror for tracking ‘vital signs’, it suggests that the mirrors emphasize the screen and, in so doing, disrupt a notion of images of representations. Images are instead brought to life; intensively experienced rather than extensively read. The article engages, first, with the increasing prevalence of screens and, second, with the moves in sociology towards theorising the value of the concept of the virtual. Arguing that images are felt and lived out, the article seeks to contribute to how sociology has dealt with, and might further develop, the concept of the virtual as a productive way of understanding the relationships between images, screens, power and life.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: The Sociological Review
Uncontrolled Keywords: images ; representation ; screens ; the virtual ; power ; intensity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
ID Code: 58672
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 27 Sep 2012 16:47
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2013 11:13
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/58672

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