Documenting World Politics: A Critical Companion to IR and Non-Fiction Film, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Documenting World Politics

A Critical Companion to IR and Non-Fiction Film, 1st Edition

Edited by Rens Van Munster, Casper Sylvest


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As a central component of contemporary culture, films mirror and shape political debate. Reflecting on this development, scholars in the field of International Relations (IR) increasingly explore the intersection of TV series, fiction film and global politics. So far, however, virtually no systematic scholarly attention has been given to documentary film within IR.

This book fills this void by offering a critical companion to the subject aimed at assisting students, teachers and scholars of IR in understanding and assessing the various ways in which documentary films matter in global politics. The authors of this volume argue that much can be gained if we do not just think of documentaries as a window on or intervention in reality, but as a political epistemology that – like theories – involve particular postures, strategies and methodologies towards the world to which they provide access.

This work will be of great interest to students and scholars of international relations, popular culture and world politics and media studies alike.

Table of Contents

Part I – Setting the Scene 1 Introduction, Rens van Munster and Casper Sylvest 2 Your Film in Seven Minutes: Neoliberalism and the Field of Documentary Film Production, Francesco Ragazzi Part II – Staging World Politics 3 Popular Documentaries and the Global Financial Crisis, Chris Clarke and James Brassett 4 Documenting Financial Assemblages and the Visualization of Responsibility Marieke de Goede 5 Non-Linearity in the Ocean Documentary, Philip E. Steinberg 6 Shots of Ambivalence: Nuclear Weapons in Documentary Film, Casper Sylvest 7 Inside War: Counterinsurgency and the Visualization of Violence, Rens van Munster 8 The Reflexivity of Tears: Documentaries of Sexual Military Assault, Robin May Schott 9 Meta-mediation, Visual Agency and Documentarist Reflexivity in Conflict Film: Burma VJ Meets Burke + Norfolk, Rune Saugmann Andersen 10 The Reckoning: Advocating International Criminal Justice and the Flattening of Humanity, Wouter G. Werner 11 Strange Encounters: Past, Present, and Future Conceivable LifeJuha A. Vuori Part III – Behind the Scenes 12 Evil, Art and Politics in Documentary Film: Interview with Joshua Oppenheimer, Rens van Munster and Casper Sylvest 13 Bridging Research and Documentary Film: Interview with Janus Metz and Sine Plambech, Rens van Munster and Casper Sylvest 14 After-ImageJames Der Derian

About the Editors

Casper Sylvest is Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Southern Denmark.

Rens Van Munster is Senior Researcher, Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Copenhagen.

About the Series

Popular Culture and World Politics

The Popular Culture World Politics (PCWP) book series is the forum for leading interdisciplinary research that explores the profound and diverse interconnections between popular culture and world politics. It aims to bring further innovation, rigor, and recognition to this emerging sub-field of international relations.

To these ends, the PCWP series is interested in various themes, from the juxtaposition of cultural artefacts that are increasingly global in scope and regional, local and domestic forms of production, distribution and consumption; to the confrontations between cultural life and global political, social, and economic forces; to the new or emergent forms of politics that result from the rescaling or internationalization of popular culture.

Similarly, the PCWP series wishes to provide a venue for work that explores the effects of new technologies and new media on established practices of representation and the making of political meaning. It encourages engagement with popular culture as a means for contesting powerful narratives of particular events and political settlements as well as explorations of the ways that popular culture informs mainstream political discourse. The PCWP series promotes investigation into how popular culture contributes to changing perceptions of time, space, scale, identity, and participation while establishing the outer limits of what is popularly understood as ‘political’ or ‘cultural’.

In addition to film, television, literature, and art, the PCWP series actively encourages research into diverse artefacts including sound, music, food cultures, gaming, design, architecture, programming, leisure, sport, fandom and celebrity. The series is fiercely pluralist in its approaches to the study of popular culture and world politics and is interested in the past, present, and future cultural dimensions of hegemony, resistance and power.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General