Media Use and Political Engagement: Cross-Cultural Approaches| Political Engagement Through Visual Mediation: The Visuality of the Christchurch Attack and a Cross-Governmental Analysis of Performative Populist Responses

Balca Arda


This article investigates the role of visual communication technologies in political engagement through a case study that examines politics in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shooting on March 15, 2019. It explores how the live-streamed display of the attack reproduced the features of personalized framing in social media, and how such mediation has been conceived by populist politics and instrumentalized to counterbalance this peculiar act of violence. Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, evoked empathy among different religious groups and solidarity with Muslim communities by supporting the #HeadscarfForHarmony campaign on social media. At the same time, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used the video footage of the mosque shooting for his election campaign to incite anti-Christian sentiment. This comparative analysis offers a cross-governmental perspective and questions how the political culture of populist governmentality determines the resources for citizens’ participation through patterns of communication. I contend that the political culture of citizen engagement in populism is eligible to be radically changed to correspond to contemporary visual communication design technologies.


political resources, personalized politics, visual communication technologies, visual politics, populism, political immediation

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