Special issue :Introduction - Visual Representations of Femininities and Masculinities

In the digital age, visual representations have become more meaningful than ever before in history. The Internet, countless portals, blogs, social network sites, digital television and movie images, and illustrated newspapers and magazines – they all contribute to picturizing our everyday and perhaps also not so everyday lives. From a historical point of view the creation of user-generated content on the Internet constitutes an important turning point in the relationship between the human being and the creation, consumption, and distribution of images. The novelty of digital visual communication compared to its conventional analogous predecessors is its increasing impact on the social construction of reality in at least four ways. First, it opens the practice of visual communication to large parts of the population and blurs the distinction between producer, distributor, and consumer of visual objects. Second, it enhances the productive capacity of visual technology beyond reality itself, into the hyper-real e.g. enabling the production of images that transcend the human perspective. Third, it creates a logic for the representation of reality that enhances the social value of visual communication in the sense that a message must be visual if it has to be relevant at all. Fourth, it enables and accelerates the circulation of images across material and immaterial obstacles such as borders, cultures, language, status, and gender to more conventional forms of communication.

Karl Kaser

Karl Kaser

Karl Kaser is a full professor of Southeastern European history and anthropology at the University of Graz, Austria, since 1996. His research focuses on historical-anthropological issues and encompasses topics such as the history of family, kinship, and clientelism, gender relations and historical visual cultures of the Balkans. His most recent monograph is: “Hollywood auf dem Balkan. Die visuelle Moderne an der europäischen Peripherie (1900–1970)” (2018). Currently he is working on the monographic book project “Conflicting Femininities and Masculinities in the Digital Age: Realia and Utopia in the Balkans and South Caucasus”. He has conducted numerous research projects. Currently, he is coordinator of the research and exchange project “Knowledge Exchange and Academic Cultures in the Humanities: Europe and the Black Sea Region, late 18th – 21st Centuries”, funded by the European Commission. The author is doctor h. c. of the Universities of Batumi (Georgia) and Blagoevgrad (Bulgaria), honorary professor of University of Shkodra (Albania), and honorary member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences (ZRC SAZU).


Southeastern Europe