Globalized fears: circulating imaginaries of violence on YouTube
(University of Helsinki)
Johanna Sumiala (University of Helsinki)
In recent years the concept of "circulation" has been of special interest in the field anthropology (see e.g., Spitulnik 1997; Gaonkar 2002; Lee & LiPuma 2002). This paper aims at elaborating the idea of circulation in the context of visual media anthropology. The authors illuminate the workings of circulation by illustrating how violent media images travel on YouTube and how the video clips contribute to formation and reformation of globalized social imaginaries of violence (Butler 2003; Appadurai 2006). Special focus is given to the analysis of circulation of the school shooting videos on YouTube. By analysing the school shooting videos on the Columbine, Virginia Tech, Jokela and Kauhajoki massacres, the paper claims that the school shootings as visual media spectacles of violence, death and terror can be seen as paradigmatic examples of deadly events stimulating social imaginaries of violence through the cultural logic of circulation in the era of globalization.