Témoignage and Responsibility in Photo/Graphic Narratives of Médecins Sans Frontières

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alexandra W. Schultheis Moore, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: This article analyzes photographic and graphic narratives of missions conducted by MSF in the Sahel (1984–1985), Afghanistan (1986), and Democratic Republic of the Congo (2005) for the ways in which the narratives construe the responsibility of their readers toward what they see as well as of MSF's missions toward those they serve, particularly in relation to MSF's official policy of témoignage or witnessing as advocacy. I read the chronotopes (space-time) within these books for how they represent suffering and position the reader as voyeur, philanthropist, or protester (Chouliaraki 2006). In their distinctive forms, these texts bridge the presence of immediate crisis and the larger historical framework through which it may be understood. As simultaneously visual and literary media, photo/graphic narratives work through the dual compulsions to show and to tell, both of which manifest through their formal manipulations of the structure of a humanitarian crisis. In their framing devices, these books play with constructions of temporality and distance (moral, intersubjective, and geographical) that govern “the ethics of mediation[,] the humanization of vulnerable others” (Chouliaraki 2011: 363) upon which humanitarian responsibility depends.

Additional Information

Journal of Human Rights 12.1 (March 2013): 87-102
Language: English
Date: 2013
Témoignage, Advocacy, Médecins Sans Frontières, Doctors without Borders, Photography, Graphic narratives, Humanitarianism

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