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Emotional BodiesThe Historical Performativity of Emotions$
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Dolores Martín-Moruno and Beatriz Pichel

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042898

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042898.001.0001

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Humanitarian Emotions through History

Humanitarian Emotions through History

Imaging Suffering and Performing Aid

(p.219) 10. Humanitarian Emotions through History
Emotional Bodies

Emma Hutchison

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores how the emotional dimensions of witnessing human hardship play a key role in shaping humanitarian practices. While images of suffering have evoked a range of emotions, contemporary commentators lament that a “politics of pity” fuels Western humanitarian practices. Even if it could seem a recent phenomenon, these emotions have a history. This chapter examines the emergence of humanitarian emotions by linking early modern depictions of suffering with contemporary media images of crises. Furthermore, it analyses how representing distant suffering has led to a “politics of pity.” Exposing the contingency of such emotions, this chapter concludes by emphasizing how feelings hold immanent possibilities for political transformations.

Keywords:   Affect, Emotion, Humanitarianism, Humanitarian Emotions, Images, Photographs, Suffering

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