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Visual Culture


While visual culture has certainly been around as long as culture itself, the phrase visual culture used to denote a specific component of culture in general, a set of visual practices, or an academic discipline is quite recent. James Elkins, one of this emerging field's leading scholars, dates the term from 1972, saying that it "was usedperhaps for the first time in Michael Baxandall's Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy " (p. 2). The recent provenance of the term visual culture is important because it indexes a historical shift in the importance of vision itself that has led to an ongoing reconceptualization of the visual and what has been called, in another neologism, visuality. Elkins locates the origins of visual culture as an emerging academic discipline in the cultural studies movement that started in England during the late 1950s, and sees visual culture as an American (U.S.) extension of that project (with an emphasis on the visual that did not really get off the ground until the 1990s). What is visible, how it appears, and how it affects nearly every other aspect of social life is suddenly of paramount concern.

The emergence of an idea called visual culture surely implies the emergence of a set of urgent problems for which the idea should enable some kind of answers. At a certain moment in the late twentieth century, a new consideration of the role of the visual, of perception, of images, and of the technologies and subjectivities that are embroiled in these relations became an urgent matter for scholars. This moment, which may be identified with what has been called from various corners and with differing emphasis as poststructuralism, the information age, media society, postindustrial society, postmodernism, postcolonialism, and/or globalization, is marked above all else by a new degree of saturation of social space by visual technologies, and, one must assume, a related shift in their social function and significance.

The Visual Turn

While it is arguable that this visual turn is indeed the metaevent that might show the deep interrelationships and common logic of the other periodizing categories mentioned above, it is true that the conditions of possibility for the emergence of the idea of visual culture were a long time in the making. As noted, culture always and necessarily has had a visual component. However, the shift in emphasis toward an increasing importance of the visible (and its manipulation) is due principally to two related factors: the organization of economies and societies with and by images and the related hyper-development and intensification of visual technologies. Of course, this claim raises more questions than it answers. Image technologies from photography to cinema, television, and computerization are more and more deeply woven into the very fabric of reality. Such interweaving is imbricated to the point where the function of images has become inseparable from any consideration of what might be called the contemporary human condition, including the situation of other categories of analysis central to the humanities including race, class, nation, gender, and sexuality. What might be thought of as an industrialization of the visible is not, strictly speaking, a natural emergence, any more than it is natural that there be skyscrapers or music television. Rather, the visual turn is the contingent result of a matrix of historical and economic forces. In particular (and this is an argument, not a mere statement of fact), the rise of visual culture is a response to the need to efficiently organize and manage huge populations composed of disparate cultures and/or races, in multiple locations and with varying degrees of economic power in what has become the capitalist world-system. The emergence of visual culture is the historical answer to a complex set of organization questions posed at the scale of the human species.


Many scholars locate the emergence of visual culture in relationship to the development of visual technologies, the history of pictorial art, and the emerging recognition of the priority of the visual as the king of the senses. Most, if not all, see this new field as being connected to the streams of images and information that continuously assault spectators from all corners of their environments. No one seems to doubt that, from an experiential standpoint, that which is visibleits intensity, its demands, its possibilities, as these come to us via television, cinema, video, DVD, Internet, electronic billboard, or Mars roveris something qualitatively new. Yet a smaller number of scholars (Arjun Appadurai, Jonathan Crary, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Sean Cubitt, and a few others) see the emergence of the visual as part of a necessary and practical reconfiguration of subjectivity. The cutting edge of visual cultural studies, however, understands that visuality and the visual technologies that mediate it are part of a larger social project in which the interiority of concrete individuals is being reconfigured. As the British art historian Norman Bryson writes, "Between subject and the world is inserted the entire sum of discourses which make up visuality, that cultural construct, and make visuality different from vision, the notion of unmediated visual experience" (pp. 9091, italics added). We should add here that visuality is constructed via the interweaving of the discourses that would capture vision and the technologies that utilize it.

Stated dramatically, the social project being undertaken by ostensibly external visual technologies and the economics thereof is not only a reorganization of social macro-structures on a planetary scale but also a total reconfiguration of the interiority of persons. This reconfiguration, which enables and indeed necessitates persons to effectively retool themselves as media for the reception and transmission of social vectors of forceto become mediators among the mediations, implies a new modality of what used to be thought of as human being. It is around these questions that the debates regarding visual culture are perhaps most interesting and fruitful. As nearly all persons, from U.S. presidents, to Hollywood directors, to international consumers, to middle-class workers, to television viewers, to war victims, to dollar-a-day sweatshop chip manufacturers are locked into an economy that passes through the visual, and as the visual is mediated by new technologies, financial institutions, and the military industrial complex, it is fair to say that humanity, if one can still call it that, has become at once more profoundly collective and more inexorably cybernetic than ever before.

Historical Emergence of the Field of Vision as a Site of Power and Social Control

In Nicholas Mirzoeff's "The Subject of Visual Culture," an essay that serves as an introduction to his important edited volume The Visual Culture Reader, he writes that "By the visual subject I mean a person who is both constituted as an agent of sight and as the effect of a series of categories of visual subjectivity" (p. 10). Sketching the emergence of some of these categories, Mirzoeff traces an arc from René Descartes (15961650) to roughly Jean-Paul Sartre (19051980) and Jacques Lacan (19011981). This arc spans the early modern Cartesian notion of "I think, therefore I am" to what Mirzoeff calls "a new mantra of visual subjectivity: 'I am seen and I see that I am seen'" (p. 10). Notably, the modern subject who first emerges through the negation of the visual field (Descartes begins his meditations by doubting the veracity of vision itself, specifically whether it is his hand he sees before his face), and after being subject to a variety of disciplinary regimes of surveillance (in the work of Michel Foucault [19261984]), is later constituted in and through the visual (Lacan's "I see myself seeing myself"). The Lacanian analysis of the visual field derives a great proportion of the algebra of subjectivity from scopic relations. Marking a shift in the development and organization of a subject who was effectively located at the (0,0) Cartesian coordinate point in a visible universe of axonometric space developed by Leon Battista Alberti (14041472) and point perspective and formalized by Descartes, Mirzoeff astutely sites the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham's (17481832) prison design known as the Panopticon (1786) as emblematic of the utilization of visual surveillance for disciplinary purposes. Brilliantly analyzed by Foucault in "The Eye of Power," Bentham's prison design created a circular array of fully transparent prison cells forming a perimeter around a central huba guard tower of smoked glass. The genius of the panopticon was in its economy: the prisoners knew that they could always be seen by the guard in the tower wherever they were in their cells; because they could not tell whether the guard tower was occupied (guards were changed via an underground tunnel), the prisoners effectively watched themselves, that is, policed themselves. Foucault called this form of self-surveillance the "internalization of the gaze of power." While Foucault notes the efficient advance in disciplinary technology marked by the panopticon (it is much cheaper to have people police themselves than to have to continuously beat them into submission), what is at least as important here is that the visual is explicitly grasped as a medium of organization and social control, and that the visual field can be structured via architecture and therefore via design and technology.

The fact that vision and the gaze become the media for the orchestration of social control is in no way confined to technologies of surveillance. As suggested above, the organization of the visual is for many thinkers constitutive of subjectivity, of modern psychology, and therefore of conceptualization of self and other. The fact that Freudian psychoanalysis and the origins of cinema (developed by the Lumiere brothers) share 1895 as an inaugural date might therefore be viewed as more than mere coincidence. Although the majority of psychoanalytic work during the twentieth century believed itself to be embarking on a description and analysis of the deep and therefore ontological structures of human desire and the psyche, it has been argued that the psychic structures available for analysis by the new discipline of psychoanalysis are in fact instantiated and developed by visual technologies themselves (Beller, 2002). Film theory includes extensive work on cinema's modulation of the gaze and its skilled and satisfying manipulation of visual pleasure, but it is at least as likely as not that the structures of apperception capable of deriving the pleasures that cinema offers emerge in dialectical relation to cinematic technologies themselves, rather than having always already been there, lying in wait.

Historicity of the Senses

As early as 1844, Karl Marx in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of that year argued from a historical-materialist perspective that the senses themselves developed in dialectical relationships to society's objects. New modes of perception, sensibility, and appropriation were developed for the objects and processes of industrialization.

It is only when the objective world becomes everywhere for man in society the world of man's essential powershuman reality, and for that reason the reality of his own essential powersthat all objects become for him the objectification of himself. The manner in which they become his depends upon the nature of the objects and on the nature of the essential power corresponding to it ; for it is precisely the determinateness of this relationship which shapes the particular, real mode of affirmation. To the eye an object comes to be other than it is to the ear, and the object of the eye is another object than the object of the ear. The peculiarity of each essential power is precisely its peculiar essence, and therefore also the peculiar mode of its objectification, of it objectively actual living being. Thus man is affirmed in the objective world not only in the act of thinking, but with all his senses.

On the other hand, looking at this in its subjective aspect: just as music alone awakens in man the sense of music, and just as the most beautiful music has no sense for the unmusical earis no object for it because my object can only be the confirmation of one of my essential powers and can therefore only be so for me as my essential power is present for itself as a subjective capacity, because the sense of an object for me goes only so far as my senses go (has only sense for a sense corresponding to that object)for this reason the senses of the social man are other senses than those of the non-social man. The forming of the five senses is a labor of the entire history of the world down to the present (pp. 7475).

Marx writes here both of the historical disarticulation (separation) of the senses and of the historico-social elaboration of their capacities. If the forming of the five senses is indeed a labor of the entire history of the world down to the present, then it is also true that "the psychic structures which are then derived from this organization of the senses by the objective conditions of production" are also preeminently historical. The theorist Hal Foster, in his landmark essay "Scopic Regimes of Modernity," sketches some of the varied scopic regimes (the organization of subjects and objects by differing visual systems of representation) in early modern Europe and discusses their historical basis. His work provides concrete examples of varied scopic regimes embedded in different cultural and historical moments.

Although it may not seem like much to show that the organization and development of the senses (and therefore the structures of the psyche) are historical rather than ontologically hard-wired, this insight is of great import for an understanding of the historicity of the idea of visual culture. For the idea of visual culture emerges when and only when social production itself has entered definitively into the visual realm and the site of the visual becomes indeed the privileged realm of social production.

Race and Photo-Graphics

It is essential here to see that the processes of industrialization and then computerization that produced the new objects and eventually machines for the development of the visual do not occur in some spatio-temporal vacuum occupied by abstract individual bodies all subjected to regimes of visuality in precisely the same manner. Rather, industrialization developed on the laboring backs of specific bodies in tandem with the entire European and American projects of colonization and imperialism. If industrialization was linked to the development of capitalism, the development of capitalism was linked to the conquest of regions formerly on the periphery of capitalism: Africa, Asia, the Americasin short, the world. Thus one must observe that the development of the various racisms (which are themselves relatively new and certainly not transhistorical) are nothing less than a complementary technology of exploitationa process of othering that enabled and legitimated the violence done unto populations subject to conquest, genocide, enslavement, and the twenty-first century's continued neocolonialism.

That this racism has a visual component is an understatement. It is indeed ironic that the French critic Roland Barthes (19151980), in his celebrated work Camera Lucida, locates what he considers "the essence of photography" in a discussion of a lost photograph of a slave auction. That photograph would indicate the "this-has-beenness" of the abhorrent reality of slavery, and yet Barthes displaces slavery itself in order to talk about photography. The technology, finally, is for Barthes more significant than the social conditions of its emergence. However, one might also think that photography emerges alongside the social need to graph people onto a social hierarchy vis-à-vis their appearancethat slavery haunts photography. Such a graphing via the skin, a process of capture, objectification, classification, and control, defines both slavery and photography. Photography partakes of and intensifies many of the logics of racialization and the violence that is inseparable from it. There are other works, such as Vicente Rafael's work in White Love on census photography in the Philippines, that would support such a line of analysis.

Many black writers have commented on the visual aspects of racism directly or indirectly. Harriet Jacobs's slave narrative, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself (1870?), details Jacobs's effective incarceration hidden in the attic of a shed where, for seven years as an immobilized prisoner of plantation society and invisible to everyone, she watches her own children play just below her while being unable to tell them that she loves them, is okay or even alive. This autobiographical passage creates an extraordinary image of the violence of the black/white divide imposed by white supremacist society in which black subjects were rendered invisible in their subjectivity to white subjects. Not only did slave labor produce the wealth necessary to sustain and develop plantation society (its lands, its culture, its wealth, and its dominant subjects), but the objectification of slaves as property, as Other, by whites was essential in order that they not see the consequences of who and what slaveholders and other whites were for slaves.

The consciousness produced by the violence of racism and the mapping of subjects via their appearance is a topic of longstanding critique, lament, and rage. W. E. B. Du Bois (18681963) wrote in The Souls of Black Folk (1903) of "a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others." In the 1950s, the author Ralph Ellison declared the American black an invisible man. And in France, the political theorist Frantz Fanon, who was born and first educated in colonial Martinique, wrote in a chapter in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), entitled "The Fact of Blackness," of his existential crises of being perceived as black in a French context. What emerges in Fanon's writing is not only the crisis of being perceived to be black and thus other, but the constitutive and universalist racism of France. In response to his experiences, he recalls a moment of being othered while on a train by a child who says, "Look, a negro!" Fanon writes:

I was responsible at the same time for my body, my race, for my ancestors. I subjected myself to objective examination, I discovered my blackness, my ethnic characteristics; and I was battered down by tom-toms, cannibalism, intellectual deficiency, fetishism, racial defects, slaveships, and above all else, above all: "Sho' good eatin'."

On that day, completely dislocated, unable to be abroad with the other, the white man, who unmercifully imprisoned me, I took myself far off from my own presence, far indeed, and made myself an object. What else could it be for me but an amputation, an excision, a hemorrhage that spattered my whole body with black blood? (p. 112)

The violent structuring of the visual field along racial lines, which led to violent critique of this violence by many cultural producers and revolutionaries, remains subject to an ongoing critique by subjects who identify as or with numerous races and/or ethnicities. One of the most important aspects of the study of visual culture in the early twenty-first century is the analysis and unpacking of visuality in terms of race and the allied histories of colonization and imperialism. For the structuring of visuality is tied to the production and reproduction of representations (and erasures) of racialized subjects, and these images, whether through the stimulation of fantasy or the production of perceptions of what is ostensibly reality, in turn enable much of the ongoing violence of contemporary society.

Gender, Sexuality, and the Image

In addition to race-based critiques of dominant visual representation and its profound connection both to dominant modalities of the visual and to socio-subjective organization, scholarsparticularly film theoristshave also examined the visual field in terms of its implantation in the organization of gender and sexuality. Most famously here, perhaps, is Laura Mulvey's work "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" (1975). Undertaking an analysis of Hollywood's development of scopophilia or "pleasure in looking," Mulvey understood Hollywood narrative cinema to be developing and narrativizing a particular image of woman: "Woman stands in patriarchal culture as signifier for the male other, bound by a symbolic order in which man can live out his fantasies and obsessions through linguistic command by imposing them on the silent image of woman still tied to her place as bearer of meaning, not maker of meaning" (p. 199). She further comments, "As an advanced representation system, the cinema poses questions of the ways the unconscious (formed by the dominant order) structures ways of seeing and pleasure in looking" (p. 199). Though it has already been suggested here that cinema itself may be considered to be part of the dominant order that forms the unconscious itself, this dialectic for Mulvey results in the effective evacuation of the subjectivity of woman as representation, and perhaps (this has been debated in terms of the question of female spectatorship) as a concrete individual person. Without rehearsing the entire argument, suffice it to say that Mulvey sets out to attack the film industry's "satisfaction and reinforcement of the [male] ego," and understands the film industry to be effectively maintaining if not producing and intensifying patriarchal society and its domination/exploitation of women. In writing, "It is said that analyzing pleasure, or beauty, destroys it. That is the intention of this article" (p. 200), Mulvey crystallized a central point of her analysis: the link between pleasure, the production of subjectivity, and domination in patriarchal society.

While other theorists of cinema and of the visual, including Mary Ann Doane, Judith Butler, Judith Halberstam, Kaja Silverman, Linda Williams, and many others, offer differing and sometimes conflicting analysis of the organization and function of the visual in contemporary society, nearly all agree that what takes place in cinematic, televisual, and later digital media regarding the organization of gender and sexuality is not to be understood as a collection of unique instances but rather as at once symptomatic of social life and often productive of aspects of social life. Taken as a whole, mass media exert tremendous pressure on the organization of the psyche and the patterning of social performance. The critique of mass media's function has the power to alter its reception and therefore to transform its function. The possibility of such an analysis of images, and of an understanding of their processes, has been put forward under various nomenclatures, from semiotics to visual literacy to media theory.

Alternative Media

Many people seeking social justice share the perception that the dominant mediafrom the Hollywood studio system to the formation of television and later cable networksexercised a tremendous, often racist, sexist, and anti-democratic power, leading to the emergence of a variety of visual forms of resistance. These included the Third Cinema movement of the late 1960s and following, which encouraged Third World revolutionary filmmakers and fellow travelers to work "with the camera in one hand and a rock in the other," in order to enable the decolonization of spectators. Additionally, a tremendous number of experimental film and alternative video production projects took root. In the realm of film, endeavors from the French New Wave to experimental sixteen-millimeter filmmaking (especially the work of the American filmmaker Stan Brakhage) tried to investigate the materiality of the medium and its conventions for creating the most persuasive of illusions. Filmmakers such as Yvonne Rainer and Marlene Gorris, among many others, also worked on creating a feminist film corpus. Additionally, with the rise of the video portapak and the general dissemination of inexpensive video technology in the early 1970s, a whole generation of alternative video and video art began to make inroads not only in the field of what could be represented on television, but at least as importantly into the ways in which images were perceived, processed, and understood. The artists Nam June Paik, Lynda Benglis, and Linda Montano in the 1970s and 1980s and Bill Viola in the 1990s and 2000s, among many others, created video artworks, while organizations such as New York's Downtown Community Television Center, with Jon Alpert and Keiko Tsuno, covered topics like access to healthcare and minority experiences in a documentary style. These U.S. efforts at alternative video and video art had their counterparts in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere.

Advertising, Attention, and Society of the Spectacle

French situationist Guy Debord began his enduring work Society of the Spectacle (1967) with, "The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images" (p. 12). While this thesis is true of the spectacle in general, it is perhaps most readily intelligible from a study of advertising. Theorists from Marshall McLuhan to Robin Andersen and Sut Jhally chart the extension and penetration of advertising into both the format of media productionsparticularly television, but also with product placement, the cinemaand simultaneously into the psychology and fantasy of consumers. Up until the 1920s, advertisements in print venues were principally informational (e.g., if your dentures are falling out, we make this denture cream). By the 1950s, advertisers were not selling products but a whole way of life in which consumption itself would begin to solve life's ailments. The purpose of advertising became to produce consumers. Advertising's messages overall are designed to produce feelings of lack and inadequacy that might then be treated by the consumption of a product, or more particularly, the image of that product. In the twenty-first century, these campaigns are mounted by specialized agencies that employ PhDs in psychology and use statistical techniques and brainstorming sessions (called "the theater of the mind") to elicit unconscious associations from consumers. Advertising operates through what this author calls a "calculus of affect" in order to continuously refine the efficiency by which spectators are manipulated not by rational arguments but by emotional and visceral appeals to their unconscious and sometimes conscious fantasy. Without a doubt, many of these fantasies are shot through with variants of the racism and sexism discussed above. Since corporate media exist principally for profit and their profits come from paid advertisements, it is easy to see how, structurally at least, these very media serve first and foremost as vehicles for advertisers.

The American critic Jonathan Beller's work on visual culture and media extends the idea that mass media sell eyeballs to advertisers and elaborates "the attention theory of value." In brief, this theory is a development of Marx's labor theory of value in which the production of all value for capital has its basis in human labor. It argues that attention is the superset of labor (and thus labor is a subset of attention). Just as workers labor in the factory, spectators labor in the social mechanisms known as media, building value for capital and oftentimes disenfranchising themselves. Television functions like a deterritorialized factory for the production and reproduction of consumer-citizen-subjects. The theory proposes a cybernetic model of production in which the image is the paradigmatic interface between bodies and the social armature. The logistics of media society, its modalities of operation, its affects, and its production of history, space, time, and fantasy are fully integrated into spectatorial consciousness. Imagination itself is engaged as an engine of production: attending bodies validate media pathways and simultaneously transform themselves. Indeed, as spectators are posited as nodes on media circuits that are fundamental to the production and reproduction of the global, it becomes increasingly difficult to say where mediation ends and personhood begins. As noted above, humanity itself is increasingly cybernetic.

Visuality, Mediation, Simulation, and Cybernetics

The integration of the machinery of media circuits, the imagination of spectators, financial markets, and the military industrial complexall on a global scalecompose what Beller calls the world-media system. This idea of a world-media system that endeavors to fully integrate modes of perception and the requisites of social production and reproduction is connected to several critical ideas. One such idea is the German philosophers Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer's idea of "the culture industry," in which commercial cultural products were understood "as an after-image of the work process" and in effect designed to reconcile workers to their own powerlessness and exploitation by giving them compensatory images of satisfactions that were denied to them in life. Debord begins Society of the Spectacle with the idea that "The whole life of those societies in which modern conditions of production prevail presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. All that was once directly lived has become mere representation" (p. 12). The political theorist Paul Virilio has shown the intimate developmental relationships between war machines and the cinematic apparatus, as well as the role of visual technologies in surveillance and the rendering of targets abstract, virtual, and therefore more easily destroyable, both practically and in terms of the conscience of the killers. Murder becomes technologized and as easy as the touch of a button. The French sociologist Jean Baudrillard has written about the connections between mass media and what he calls simulation, a process that creates copies without originals. Images for Baudrillard are "hyperreal," that is more real than real, and have, for him at least, effectively rendered reality impossible and consequently short circuited genuine thought. What is clear from the work of these thinkers and others whom they have inspired is that the media environment has radically altered the very fabric of reality, the character of the human sensorium, and the nature of the consciousness that might mediate between the two.

Along these lines, the French intellectual Régis Debray, in his important work Media Manifestos (1996), has argued that the word communication is a radical misconception of what transpires in the messaging process and should thus be replaced by the word mediation, because messages don't just travel from A to B. Rather, "sender and receiver are modified from the inside by the message they exchange, and the message itself modified by its circulation" (p. 44). Instead of looking at particular cultural products or texts, Debray's analysis is more interested in "change[s] in the system of manufacture/circulation/storage of signs" (p. 19) and charts a historical, planetary shift from what he dubs the logosphere to the graphosphere to the videosphere that is, regimes of the written word, the printed word, and the image respectively. His study of "the ways and means of symbolic efficacy" (p. 7) is more interested in the effects of mediations rather than their meanings or contents, and points toward the techno-cultural apparatuses that manage the circulation of signs as something like the unthought of human historical process. The visual, and what is now called visual culture, is the latest and most powerful development in the management and organization of human society.

The Future of Visual Culture and Visual Studies

It seems clear that visual culture is not about to disappear but, rather, with the growing perception that visuality is one of the profound operators of our times and therefore a site of the twenty-first century's most important questions, we may expect critical approaches to visual culture to develop quite rapidly and with tremendous diversity. The American theorist Lisa Cartwright has written about medical imaging and its sociocultural implications in Screening the Body: Tracing Medicine's Visual Culture. The legal scholars Kimberle Williams Crenshaw and Garry Peller have written on the evidentiary character of amateur video and the way in which racist, state, and aesthetic ideologies overcode the image. Writers from Raymond Williams to Lynn Spigel have analyzed television's reorganization of social space. Linda Williams considers pornography to be of central importance. Political scientist Armand Mattelart and sociologist Manuel Castells discuss the manner in which media and information flows are linked to the movement of capital and the restructuring of imaginary and built environments. Still others (such as the philosopher Douglas Kellner) have written on the connections between commercial television, ideology, and the waging of war. The theorist and artist Lev Manovich has written on the possibilities and implications of digital cinema, and Cubitt has broached the questions of digital aesthetics with tremendous insight and erudition. The media theorist Lisa Parks has written on "satellite and cyber visualities."

Looking toward the future and toward possible forms of the institutionalization of what he pointedly calls visual studies, the art historian James Elkins suggests that visual literacy courses should include history of Western art and mass media, but also an understanding and analysis of multicultural as well as multidisciplinary image making processes, including non-Western aesthetic productions, and scientific and satellite imaging. This author's view is that visual studies will amount to little more than an accommodation to shifting conditions of domination and the intensification of global inequality unless it is also imbued with the commitment to demonstrate both the preconditions for the production of images as well as the consequences of different modes of reception of these images.

See also Aesthetics ; Arts ; Cinema ; Cultural Studies ; Media, History of ; Other, The, European Views of ; Postmodernism ; Propaganda ; Third Cinema .


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Jonathan Beller

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