The stranger in crisis: spectacle and social response
Jakob, Joey Brooke
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The political and economically based social system of neoliberalism fosters an individualistic perspective that informs people’s actions when confronted by a stranger in crisis. When a stranger is witnessed in crisis, the witness follows the lead of the neoliberal individualistic social structures that deny the plight of those in crisis. The stranger is feared and left to fend for herself in her plight. The creation of spectacles and imaginary notions of ‘stranger danger’ as combined with individuals having blasé attitudes reinforce an individualistic perspective. The mass media help in circulating an archive of images in which the stranger is dangerous, different and to be feared. Because these images are so available, and have become expected, compassion fatigue is set in motion when people are confronted with images of strangers in crisis; compassion fatigue is reinforced by the surrounding individualistic social structures.