Distant Suffering in Audience Memory: The Moral Hierarchy of Remembering

Maria Kyriakidou



Confronted with images of distant suffering on a frequent basis, television viewers are often invited to take a moral stance. This article argues that illustrative of the viewers’ moral engagement with such news stories is the way they remember them. It studies the practice of media remembering as the discursive reconstruction of events witnessed through the media. Drawing upon empirical material from focus group discussions with Greek audiences, the article argues that there is a moral hierarchy in the way viewers remember distant suffering. This hierarchy, constructed through the intertwined processes of remembering and forgetting, reflects the political and cultural frameworks viewers employ in making sense of distant disasters.


Distant suffering; audience; media memory; media remembering; focus groups; cosmopolitan memory

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