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Crisis of representation?

Abstract

The argument that there is a ‘crisis of representation’ has become a commonplace in cultural, philosophical, and semiotic theory for some decades now. The reasons for assuming such a crisis are diverse. The arguments also reflect the diversity of concepts of representation. A careful examination of what is meant by ‘crisis of representation’ must therefore begin with a thorough diagnosis of the symptoms of crisis that have been ascertained and with a differentiation of the domains to which they pertain. The results of this examination allow the differences between the various underlying concepts of representation to be more clearly determined. This paper deals with three domains in which crises of representation have been diagnosed: firstly, literature, the arts, and the media; secondly, philosophy; and thirdly, semiotics. In this field of investigation, the theory of mental representation continues to be a major topic of research, but is, so to speak, in crisis, according to the so-called anti-representationalists whose models of the mind are of a nonrepresentational kind.
Crisis of representation?
WINFRIED NO
¨
TH
The commonplace of the ‘crisis of representation’
The ‘crisis of representation’ has become a commonplace of cultural,
philosophical, and semiotic theory during the last decades of the twentieth
century. The reasons for assuming such a crisis, however, are quite
diverse, and there is not even a general consent as to the existence of such
a crisis. The diversity of the arguments concerning this crisis is also due to
the diversity of concepts of representation. A careful examination of what
is meant by ‘crisis of representation’ must therefore begin with a thorough
diagnosis of the symptoms of crisis that have been ascertained and
with a differentiation of the domains to which they pertain. The results
of this examination will allow the differences between the various
underlying concepts of representation to be more clearly determined
(No
¨
th 2000a: 162–168).
This paper will deal with three domains in which crises of representation
have been diagnosed: firstly, literature, the arts, and the media; secondly,
philosophy; and thirdly, semiotics. A further area, which we will not deal
with here, is cognitive science. In this field of investigation, the theory of
mental representation continues to be a major topic of research, but is,
so to speak, in crisis, according to the so-called anti-representationalists
whose models of the mind are of a nonrepresentational kind (cf. No
¨
th
2000a: 230).
Literature, art, and the media: Crisis as the loss of the referent
In the domains of the arts and of the media, the crisis of representation
has emerged with the loss of the referent in modern painting and literature
and with the ever-increasing distance from the reality of the referential
world in the digital and the mass media.
Semiotica 1431/4 (2003), 915 0037–1998/03/0143 0009
#
Walter de Gruyter
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In modern art, Dadaism, cubism, and abstract art in general testify
to the loss of the referent in visual and verbal representation. Of course, it
is a deliberate renunciation of the referent owing to the radical shift of
focus from the referent to the sign vehicle. As a result, Georg Luka
´
cs, e.g.,
concludes that representation is no longer possible in twentieth-century
art (cf. Scheerer et al. 1992: 852). In literature, one of the first protagonists
of the renunciation of the referent was Mallarme
´
. It was Foucault (1970
[1966]: 306–307) who diagnosed the crisis of representation in Mallarme
´
as a ‘fragmentation of language’ due to the fact that language, ‘having
been detached from representation, the being of language itself had
become, as it were, fragmented’, which resulted in the ‘disappearance of
discourse’.
The crisis of representation in the media has many facets (No
¨
th 2001).
The best known is, of course, the crisis of truth in political discourse,
which is a crisis in the correspondence between the representing discourse
and the represented world of facts and events. However, truth is a
universal semiotic problem. Hence, this crisis is not specifically relevant
to the crisis of representation as it emerged in the twentieth century. If
modernity has been the cradle of a hitherto-unknown crisis of represen-
tation in the arts, the crisis of representation in the media is most
certainly connected with postmodernity. Two of the prophets who have
not ceased conjuring up this crisis in the media are Lyotard and
Baudrillard.
Lyotard deplores the loss of a reality before representation (cf. Scheerer
et al. 1992: 852). Representation loses its ability to represent when the
discourse to be represented consists only of catchphrases. In this inter-
pretation, the crisis of representation is in particular a crisis of the
legitimization of knowledge and discour se in a world wher e ‘the grand
narrative has lost its credibility, regardless of what mode of unification
it uses, regardless of whether it is a speculative narrative or a narrative
of emancipation’ (L yotard 1984 [1979]: 27).
According to Baudrillard (e.g., 1976, 1981), we have reached the climax
of the crisis of representation in a world of media and hypermedia, where
signs only survive in the form of ‘simulacra’, sim ulating a reality where
even the original turns out to be a mere copy. Baudrillard’s critical vision
of these sympt oms of crisis is the one of a society dominated by ‘empty
signs’ and ‘codes without referents’ in which even everyday life and con-
temporary history have degenerated into mere simulacra (cf. No
¨
th
2000a: 55). Instead of reality, there is only virtual or hyperreality, and
the crisis of representation is such that Baudrillard ha s even come to
doubt the reality of the Gulf War. The Gulf War did not take place was
the conclusion at whi ch he arrived in an essay of 1991.
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The crises of representation in the arts and in the media, in spite of
their significant differences, have a common denominator: In both
domains, the crisis is one of the referent, whose disappearance or even
loss is being deplored. However, the concept of representation underlying
this discourse of crisis is problematic since those who deplore the loss
of the referent have a rather naive vision of semiosis in a world where the
signs are not yet ‘empty’ and where the sign users can still rely on a
referent that might not deceive their expectations. No semiotic theory is
yet in sight that has been able to account for the nature of an ‘innocent’
referent not yet affected by the crisis of representation.
Philosophy: Crisis of the idea of re-presentation
A quite different ‘crisis of representation’ has been discussed in the
context of philosophy and, in particular, in pheno menology. The root of
this crisis is inherent in the etymology and the conceptual history of the
term ‘representation’. ‘Re-presentation’ appears to be an antonym of
‘presentation’. The term suggests the idea of something that is presented
‘once more’ to our mind. The idea is also rooted in the history of
semiotics. William of Ockham, for example, defined representative signs
as ‘rememorative’, that is, as signs that remind us once more of something
previously experienced (cf. No
¨
th 2000a: 9–10).
The opposition between ‘present(ation)’ and ‘re-present(ation)’ has
been elaborated in the phenomenology of E. Husserl and M. Heidegger
(cf. No
¨
th 2000a: 37–38), where ‘presentation’ and ‘presentification’ refer
to phenomena which are immediately present to consciousness and,
hence, do not require any semiotic mediation, whereas ‘representation’
refers to a semiotic process involving something like the elaboration,
reproduction, or even duplica tion of a previous ‘pres entation’. Along
these lines of argumentation, phenomenological semiotics has also drawn
a sharp distinction between signs that represent and those that do not.
According to Husserl, signs that represent are called symbols, whereas
signs that do not represent are indices (Anze ichen , cf. ibid.).
Of course, the phenomenological view of representation and the
distinction between signs that represent and those that do not cannot be
considered a symptom of a crisis of semiotics as such, but the assumptions
on which these distinctions are based have been subject to fundamental
objections. Let us consider only two of the critics, Peirce and Derrida.
According to Peirce, signs that do not represent are a contradiction in
terms, and cognition is never unmediated, but always of a semiotic nature
(cf. Santaella Braga, this volume).
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Derrida’s critique of the phenomenological view of representation
focuses on the idea of presence inherent in the idea of ‘re-presentation’
(cf. No
¨
th 2 000a: 54–55; Mersch, this volume). According to Derrida’s
philosophy of presence, representation is by no means the repetition of
something previously present. It cannot be so since, quite in accordance
with Peirce’s idea of infinite semiosis, that which is represented is of
the nature of a sign itself, i.e., something never immediately present, but
which contains the traces of other signs in itself in the unlimited deferral
of presence that Derrida dubbed diffe
´
rance.
In sum, the crisis of representation in the context of phenomenology
is the crisis of the idea of presence and presentation in the face of the
discovery of the idea of unlimited semiosis.
The challenge of the idea of representation by self-reference
A major challenge to the idea of representation comes from the idea of
self-reference. Is it possible that a sign may not represent anything but
itself ? Can something that does not stand for something else still be called
a sign? Such challenges to the idea of representation have been elaborated
in the framework of radical constructivism and the theory of autopoietic
systems (No
¨
th 2000b). If the human mind is an autopoietic system,
i.e., one that permanently constructs its own world, then representation
can only be of a self-referential nature. Self-reference has, furthermore,
been declared to be a characteristic feature of postmodern culture. If
postmodernity is confronted with a loss of the referent of the signs in the
media, the remains of these signs thus deprived of their function of
representation can only become self-referential. Such self-reference has
many facets.
A domain of culture that has always been self-referential is fashion: The
frame of reference of today’s dernier cri has always been what used to be
fashionable yesterday, but is no longer today. In the media, news reports
become more and more reports about reports and not about events
(Marcus 1997). In literature and the arts, novels and films are more and
more reflecting the modes and conditions of writing and filming. Novels
become metanovels and films metafilms. In postmodern architecture, we
are faced with a style that renounces functionality in favor of quotations
from past styles of architecture. Reference to function is replaced by
reference to architecture itself.
Even in advertising, we find the tendency to desist from representing
the product and its qualities. The current Camel campaign represents
nothing but a mere name in countless variations, and the well-established
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Marlboro campaign only perpetuates its own mythology in endless
circles of self-referentiality.
Semiotic resolutions of the paradox of self-reference
Self-reference constitutes a paradox to classical semiotics since the
sign has traditi onally been defined as an aliquid pro aliquo, that is, as
something that stands for something else. Is self-reference, therefore, a
challenge to the foundations of semiotics? Aspects of self-reference have
traditionally been recognized in the framework of many semiotic theories
(No
¨
th 2000b). Self-reference is the opposite of alloreference, which is
the classical mode of a sign’s referring to something else as its referent.
However, there is no incompatibility in principle between both, but rather
a gradual continuum from self-reference to alloreference. In fact, elements
of self-reference are present in many sign processes.
To semioticians in the structuralist tradition, the idea of self-reference
is not as paradoxical as it seems. In a way, structuralist semiotics in
the Saussurean tradition conceives of the sign as a structure that is only
constituted by other signs and, hence, can never really represent anything
that is nonsemiotic. Since the world beyond the signs, accordi ng to
Saussure, is a mere nebula, signs can only be signs in opposition to other
signs, and representation is not the representation of the world, but the
representation of a difference between signs (cf. No
¨
th 2000a: 74–75).
Furthermore, the gulf between the signifier and the signified postulated by
the structuralists testifies to another aspect of a radical self-referentiality.
If there is no access from the signifier to the signified, the two sides of the
Saussurean sign are still more restricted to their own domains.
Elements of self-referentiality are also inherent in Jakobson’s six
functions of language. Only the referential and the conative functions
are typically alloreferential; the form er because the focus is on the content
represented by the message, the latter because the focus of the message
is the addressee, and not the producer of the message. All other language
functions contain aspects of self-referentiality: first of all, the poetic func-
tion, whose focus is on the message itself; secondly, also the phatic
function, since it ignores representation for the sake of communication
as such. Furthermore, there is self-referentiality in the metalinguistic
function, whose concern is also with a nonreferential aspect of the sign,
and finally, even the emotive function has an element of self-referentiality
insofar as it focuses more on the addresser, the source of the message,
than on what is represented by the message.
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In two respects, elements of self-referentiality are also inherent in the
semiotics of Peirce. One is the theory of semiosis as an infinite process
where signs refer to signs in a never-ending chain of semiosis. The other
has to do with the semiotic category of firstness, in which every sign
participates besides its elements of secondness and thirdness. Thirdness is
the dimension of representation proper, since a prototypical sign co nsists
of a first, a representamen, related to a second, the object, and a third, the
interpretant, which is a more developed sign resulting from the process
of interpretation.
However, in Peirce’s typology of signs, we also find signs that primarily
pertain to the category of firstness. The qualisign and the genuine icon are
the ones in which firstness predominates. Firstness is the category of mere
suchness where a phenomenon is perceive d without reference to anything
else. Hen ce, Peirce’s category of the genuine icon is nothing but the idea
of a genuinely self-referential sign. It is a sign ‘by virtue of a character
which it possesses in itself without drawing ‘any distinction between itself
and the object’ (CP 5.73–74). The genuinely iconic sign thus represents
only itself and is hence completely self-referential. Now, why should
such a sign without reference be a sign at all? Husserl and the phe-
nomenological semioticians would consider it as a nonsemiotic phenom-
enon, but to Peirce, it is nevertheless semiotic, since even if a sign refers
only to itself it has the potential of producing an effect in a process of
semiosis. Producing this effect, the phenomenon functions as a sign.
Hence, even in self-reference, semiosis is possible.
Crisis of representation?
In conclusion, the study of the varieties of representation between
reference and self-reference does not lead to a crisis of the general theory
of signs. Neither is there reason to postulate a crisis of representation
from the point of view of semiotics at all, since semiotic theory has long
been aware of the many forms of representation between self-reference
and alloreference. Nor does the so-called loss of the referent shake the
foundations of the theory of semiosis, since it can be interpreted as a by
no means uncommon shift from alloreferential to self-referential semiosis.
Furthermore, re(- )presentation does not mean the mere repetition of a
previous sign phenomenon. Instead, it always involves a difference from
what precedes (as a sign or a referent), and it is the dynamics of the effect
of this difference which result in what Peirce calls ‘the growth of signs
(cf. CP 2.302).
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of the Media, W. Noth (ed.), 1545. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
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2nd ed. (2000), and Semiotics of Nature (with K. Kull, 2001).
Crisis of representation? 15
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... Hall, 1997) and 'crisis of representation' (cf. Flaherty et al., 2002;Marcus & Fischer, 1999;Nöth, 2003). In sum, the 'politics of representation' refers to societal struggles over meanings of discourses (e.g., particularly about the representation of marginalized groups) in specific cultural contexts, revealing underlying societal power relations and structures, and whether particular regimes of representation can be challenged, contested and transformed (Ghosh, 2016;Hall, 1997). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Although forced migration has always occurred throughout history, it has increased significantly recently. The largest increase took place between 2012 and 2015 and was largely driven by conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Central African and East African countries (the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], 2021). Worldwide, forcibly displaced people are, however, nowadays confronted with hostility, xenophobia and the increasing popularity of extreme right-wing political parties (Frelick, 2007; Freedman, 2015). Furthermore, in recent decades, several states have tightened their asylum policies and/or become more reluctant to cooperate with refugee organizations (Johnson, 2011; Freedman, 2015). Since 2015, the theme of forced migration has been ubiquitous in (often polarized, overlapping and interacting) public, media and political debates (Hellman & Lerkkanen, 2019). Within such contexts, UNHCR, which is mandated to lead and coordinate refugee protection worldwide (Jones, 2013), and other international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) play key roles as providers of assistance and/or protection to forcibly displaced people (Betts et al., 2012). However, through public communication, they also try to inform, raise awareness and set news media, public, political and donor agendas. Therefore, they provide diverse communication content to news media and increasingly communicate directly with citizens via social media and websites (Atkin & Rice, 2013). Hence, these organizations can significantly influence how the general public perceives forcibly displaced people and related displacement crises (Chouliaraki, 2012a) and consequently can have broader policy and societal consequences. Nevertheless, few studies have examined how they attempt to influence public, media and political agendas, and even less studies have analysed the underlying reasons behind the use of their discursive strategies. While most research has analysed the news-making activities of humanitarian organizations, and broader changing journalism-NGO relationships in evolving news and humanitarian ecologies (e.g., Ongenaert & Joye, 2016; Powers, 2018; Van Leuven & Joye, 2014), fewer studies specifically investigated refugee organizations. Second, most research centres on agenda-setting (e.g., McCombs & Valenzuela, 2021) and, to lesser extents, stakeholders’ efforts to influence about which subjects news media, citizens or other stakeholders should think (cf. first-level agenda-building) (Kim & Kiousis, 2012). However, to our knowledge, only a few studies, have thoroughly explored refugee organizations’ second-level agenda-building strategies which attempt to influence how stakeholders perceive certain subjects (Kim & Kiousis, 2012). Further, they mainly textually focus on one organization, media genre, year, and/or crisis, lacking essential explanatory comparative, production, and/or societal perspectives. Therefore, adopting a mixed-methods research design, this research project analysed refugee organizations’ public communication strategies from multiple perspectives. More specifically, we examined various relevant international refugee organizations’ public communication strategies regarding the recent Syrian and Central African crises. Hence, the central research objective of this project is to investigate the conceptual, textual, production and societal dimensions and their interactions involved in international refugee organizations’ public communication strategies. This overarching objective is operationalized through three more specific, interrelated sub-objectives, corresponding to three components and adopting a source-to-end product perspective. First, we examined the conceptual dimension of international refugee organizations’ public communication strategies (component 1). How can the public communication of international refugee organizations be conceptualized? For this purpose, we conducted an extensive literature review. Second, we studied the textual dimension of international refugee organizations’ public communication strategies (component 2). Which discursive strategies do international refugee organizations mainly use (cf. how, who, what)? Acknowledging current trends and gaps within the literature, this sub-objective can be further divided into three more specific objectives: 1. How are forcibly displaced people mainly (not) represented and discussed in international refugee organizations’ public communication? In other words, which representation and argumentation strategies do the international refugee organizations use? For this purpose, we conducted two empirical studies. First, acknowledging potential organizational differences, we applied a comparative-synchronic (Carvalho, 2008) critical discourse analysis (CDA) according to Fairclough’s (1992, 1995) CDA model on the international press releases (N=122) of UNHCR and two INGOs, de ‘Danish Refugee Council’ (DRC) and de ‘International Rescue Committee’ regarding the Syrian crisis (2014-2015). Additionally, we conducted semi-structured expert interviews (N=6) with press and regional officers at these organizations to yield additional empirical material about the underlying production and societal contexts. Second, recognizing potential media genre and crisis differences, we applied a comparative-synchronic multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) (Machin & Mayr, 2012), again following Fairclough’s (1992, 1995) CDA model, on UNHCR’s international press releases (N=28), news stories (N=233), and related photos (N=462) and videos (N=50) of the key year 2015. 2. Who is mainly (not) represented and given a voice in international refugee organizations’ public communication? 3. What is mainly (not) represented and discussed in international refugee organizations’ public communication? Which key characteristics (e.g., organizations, crises, media genres, years) and themes do international refugee organizations represent? To meet these specific objectives and acknowledging organizational, media, crisis and temporal differences, we applied a comparative, longitudinal, intersectional quantitative content analysis (Neuendorf, 2017; Riffe et al., 2019) on the press releases and news stories (N=1244) about the recent Syrian and Central African crises (2015-2018) of UNHCR, and two INGOs, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). Third, we focused on the production and societal dimensions (component 3). Central to the corresponding component are the production, political, economic and socio-cultural contexts, forces and motivations behind the public communication strategies. How do the underlying production, political, economic and socio-cultural contexts, forces and motivations explain the discursive strategies of international refugee organizations (cf. why)? Likewise, this sub-objective can be further divided into three more specific objectives that correspond with the specific textual objectives: 1. How can we explain how forcibly displaced people are mainly (not) represented and discussed in international refugee organizations’ public communication? 2. How can we explain who is mainly (not) represented and given a voice in international refugee organizations’ public communication? 3. How can we explain what is mainly (not) represented and discussed in international refugee organizations’ public communication? Therefore, we conducted a three-week office ethnography at NRC’s main press and communication department, semi-structured expert interviews with press and communication officers of NRC (N=10), and a document analysis of the key communication policy documents of NRC. We thereby focused each time on the production and societal contexts of NRC’s public communication regarding the recent Syrian and Central African crises. In general, we found diverse, often mixed results that nuance, extend and sometimes contradict the existing literature on the public communication of refugee organizations and, more generally, humanitarian communication, and frequently interact with and explain each other. For reasons of relevance, focus and space, we discuss below interactions between different dimensions, as evidenced within one or more studies. The literature review indicated that in recent decades the social and scientific relevance of research on strategic and non-profit communication in general and on refugee organizations’ public communication particularly have increased. Nevertheless, these fields remain underdeveloped and are mostly text-focused, while the production and reception dimensions are barely explored. Remarkably, however, little or no research has been conducted from an organizational communication perspective, although this study demonstrates that the subject can be adequately embedded in and examined from the fields of strategic, non-profit and public communication. Specifically, our dissertation highlights the relevance of the holistic Communicative Constitution of Organizations (CCO) perspective. This perspective argues that communication is not just an activity that occurs within or between organizations, but forms the constitutive process of organization (Putnam & Nicotera, 2010). Further, strongly influenced by the understandings of Oliveira (2017), Atkin and Rice (2013), and Macnamara (2016), we define refugee organizations’ public communication as the practice of organized and systematic symbolic social action (diversified communication disseminated through a variety of channels and activities) within the public sphere to reach set goals, co-create the refugee organization, perform civic relations and fulfil its mission by groups of people that pursue the (perceived) common good for forced migration. Finally, our conceptual study argues that future research can benefit by adopting multi-perspective, practice-oriented, multi-methodological, comparative and/or interdisciplinary approaches to which we respond in our empirical studies. Regarding the ‘how’ and related ‘why’ dimensions, the critical discourse analysis shows that the observed organisations to varying extents dehumanize forcibly displaced people and subordinate them to the ‘Western Self’ and national state interests in their press releases. Acknowledging organizational and media genre differences, these power inequalities can be explained by the use of various discursive strategies, as well as the broader production and social contexts. The findings demonstrate that forcibly displaced people are often portrayed as a homogenous and suffering collective, confirming the dominance of the regime of pity’s traditional ‘negative’ representational strategies (Bettini, 2013; Chouliaraki, 2012a; Johnson, 2011). However, unlike existing fragmented research, this analysis also found evidence of the use of other discursive strategies and explored the production process and the social context. The aforementioned depersonalising humanitarian discourse can be considered to be the product of the specific features of the press releases. The importance of news media attention and commercial reasons are other explanatory factors. In addition, the study found articulations of a simultaneously existing post-humanitarian discourse. The interviews revealed that the humanitarian sector has evolved from a non-economic to a market-oriented sphere within which private choice and self-expression are central. One can relate this post-humanitarian discourse to the regime of irony and consider it as an expression of neoliberalism (Chouliaraki, 2012a). While post-humanitarian discourses respond to the needs for personal development and self-expression, the oft-deployed cross-issue persuasion strategy responds to state interests and reflects political realism (Grieco, 1999). Both strategies are self-directed and reduce forcibly displaced people principally to secondary figures. Similarly, the comparative-synchronic multimodal critical discourse analysis reveals that UNHCR primarily represents forcibly displaced people in its press releases and, to lesser extents, in its news as generic, anonymized, passive, victimized, deprived, and/or voiceless masses, reproducing humanitarian saviour logics and hierarchies of deservingness. However, stories, photos, and videos frequently combine these representations with portrayals of empowered individual doers, speakers, and/or thinkers. Both representation strategies can be partially explained by news logics such as genre characteristics, news media conventions, and representations, and by respectively political and private sector discourses and agenda-building opportunities, and related organizational goals, as the expert interviews show. Furthermore, we identified several argumentation methods, particularly in textual communication genres. UNHCR mainly attempts to stimulate pity-based solidarity but also voices various neoliberal post-humanitarian (mainly Western) Self-oriented solidarity discourses. Refining cross-issue persuasion, we discovered that UNHCR links protection to states’ (perceived) interests in various issue areas but also in various principles and values, and propose the more appropriate concept of ‘cross-interest persuasion’. Rather than just to other (perceived) important issue areas, refugee organizations link contributions to protection to the interests of states in general. Moreover, the term emphasizes the political realist nature of the pragmatic argumentation strategy. Finally, we consider these discursive strategies as reflections and reproductions of, and responses to dominant migration management paradigms and the increasingly neoliberalized and political realist international refugee regime. Concerning the textual ‘who’, ‘what’ and connected ‘why’ dimensions, the comparative, longitudinal and intersectional quantitative content analysis shows a mixed picture of what and who are (not) represented, involving interorganizational commonalities and differences. First, regarding ‘what’, the refugee organizations predominantly communicated in 2015 and 2016 about forcibly displaced people involved in the Syrian crisis, because of intertwined organizational, societal and/or financial reasons and mainstream media logics. More specifically, it is far more difficult for international refugee organizations to obtain media attention for the Central African crisis than the Syrian crisis, because of various factors such as the nature, magnitude, implications, mediatization and comprehensibility of the conflicts, and geographic and cultural proximity. As there is more media attention on Syria, international refugee organizations generally obtain also more resources specifically intended for the Syrian crisis, including for press and communication efforts. This leads on its turn to even more attention for this crisis, creating a ‘Vicious Neglected Crisis Circle (VNCC) effect’. Organizational factors generally reinforce this effect, while security and political factors in the case of communication about Syria limit it. Regarding ‘who’, we observed that primarily forcibly displaced people and refugee organizations obtain voices in het public communication about the investigated forcibly displaced people, refining earlier studies. Additionally, examining several (largely unexplored) sociodemographics, this study finds that individualized forcibly displaced people are represented in significantly unbalanced manners (e.g., mainly along age, geographical location, legal status, current country and continent, nationality, life stance, sexual orientation, family situation, marital status and former and current profession). This can be explained by a myriad of pragmatic, humanitarian, societal, organizational, ethical/personal, practical, security, political and/or narrative reasons. Shaped by production and societal contexts, humanitarian communication reproduces and reflects quantitative mediated hierarchies of suffering, both between (cf. what) and within (who) crises. In general, we can conclude that various pragmatic and contextual factors explain ‘how’, ‘who’ and ‘what’ are represented. Finally, we argue that well-balanced humanitarian communication is essential for societal and strategic reasons (e.g., negative long-term implications of imbalanced humanitarian imagery and sensational public communication, branding opportunities as reliable, accountable ‘authorised knowers’).
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L'e´change symbolique et la mort Simulacres et simulation La guerre du Golfe n'a pas eu lieu Les mots et les choses
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Baudrillard, Jean (1976). L'e´change symbolique et la mort. Paris: Gallimard. — (1981). Simulacres et simulation. Paris: Galileé. — (1991). La guerre du Golfe n'a pas eu lieu. Paris: Galileé. Foucault, Michel (1970 [1966]). Les mots et les choses. Paris: Gallimard. [ English translation: The Order of Things. London: Tavistock.]
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Lyotard, Jean-Franc¸ (1984 [1979]). La condition postmoderne. Paris: Minuit. [English translation: The Postmodern Condition, trans. by G. Bennington and B. Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.] Marcus, Solomon (1997). Media and self-reference: The forgotten initial state. In Semiotics of the Media, W. Noth (ed.), 15–45.
1944) is Professor in Linguistics and Semiotics and Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Cultural Studies at the University of Kassel, Germany 5noeth@uni-kassel.de4. His major publications include Imagem: Cogniç, semio´tica, mı´ (with L. Santaella
  • Basel
Basel: Schwabe. Winfried No¨ (b. 1944) is Professor in Linguistics and Semiotics and Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Cultural Studies at the University of Kassel, Germany 5noeth@uni-kassel.de4. His major publications include Imagem: Cogniç, semio´tica, mı´ (with L. Santaella, 1998), Landkarten als synoptisches Medium (with D. Schmauks, 1998), Medientheorie und die digitalen Medien (with K. Wenz, 1998), Handbuch der Semiotik, 2nd ed. (2000), and Semiotics of Nature (with K. Kull, 2001).
Portuguese translation: AutorefereˆnciaAutorefereˆncia na teoria dos sistemas e na semio´ticasemio´tica Autorreferencialidad en la crisis de la modernidad. Cuadernos: Revista de la Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales
[Portuguese translation: AutorefereˆnciaAutorefereˆncia na teoria dos sistemas e na semio´ticasemio´tica, Revista de Comunicaça˜o e Linguagens 29, 13–28.] — (2001). Autorreferencialidad en la crisis de la modernidad. Cuadernos: Revista de la Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales. Universidad Nacional de Jujuy, San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina. 17, 365–369.
Les mots et les choses. Paris: Gallimard. [ English translation: The Order of Things
  • Michel Foucault
Foucault, Michel (1970 [1966]). Les mots et les choses. Paris: Gallimard. [ English translation: The Order of Things. London: Tavistock.]
L'echange symbolique et la mort
  • Jean Baudrillard
Baudrillard, Jean (1976). L'e´change symbolique et la mort. Paris: Gallimard. -(1981). Simulacres et simulation. Paris: Galile´e. -(1991). La guerre du Golfe n'a pas eu lieu. Paris: Galile´e.
Repra¨sentationRepra¨sentation
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Scheerer, E. et al. (1992). Repra¨sentationRepra¨sentation. In Historisches Wo¨rterbuch der Philosophie, vol. 8, J. Ritter and K. Gru¨nderGru¨nder (eds.), 790–852. Basel: Schwabe.
Selbstreferenz in systemtheoretischer und semiotischer Sicht
— (2000b). Selbstreferenz in systemtheoretischer und semiotischer Sicht. In Festsite Siegfried J. Schmidt, A. Barsch et al. (eds.), ( http://www.sjschmidt.net/konzepte/texte/noethl.htm).