The Digital Transformation of Visual Politics

  • Paul MessarisEmail author


The assessment in this chapter of the role of visual media in politics focuses on three specific features of the digital-media landscape: (1) the proliferation of cameras, (2) the increasing accessibility of technologies for the editing and manipulation of images, and (3) viewers’ growing control over the circumstances of their consumption of mass media. The ubiquity of cameras has blurred the boundaries between on-stage and behind-the-scenes behavior. The emergence of digital photo-manipulation technology has given both amateurs and professionals a potent instrument not only of photo-fakery but also of explicit editorial commentary, and it has led to significant cultural changes in attitudes toward photographic truth. The audience’s increasing ability to shut out overt sales pitches has forced political campaigns to adjust their tactics to a world with limited tolerance for the persuasive techniques of the television age. The result has been a deliberate blurring of the boundaries between persuasion and entertainment, with substantial changes in the nature of the political process.


Mobile cameras Surveillance Privacy Photo-fakery Visual lies Infotainment 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Annenberg School for CommunicationUniversity of PennsylvaniaSan FranciscoUSA

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