Dissertation Abstracts

The Public Power of Morality: Abu Ghraib as Iconic Turn in the War on Terror

Author: Binder, Werner , werner.binder@mail.muni.cz
Department: History and Sociology
University: University of Konstanz, Germany
Supervisor: Bernhard Giesen
Year of completion: 2012
Language of dissertation: German

Keywords: Image , Discourse , Violence , Scandal
Areas of Research: Theory , Visual Sociology , Communication, Knowledge and Culture


The disclosure of abuses in the Iraqi Abu Ghraib prison caused worldwide scandal in May 2004. The study investigates the American discourse on Abu Ghraib. It offers an interpretation of the scandal photos as well as an extensive analysis of press articles and television transcripts (2004-2009). Thus, for the first time the aftermath of the scandal in politics, law, art, popular culture and the torture discourse comes into focus. This dissertation not only closes a gap in the previous research on Abu Ghraib, but also makes an original contribution to the theoretical foundations of cultural sociology.

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