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Topic: Representing war
Representing war
It is a grotesque paradox that war, humankind’s most destructive activity, has also been the inspiration for some of its greatest moments of creativity. This paradox is reflected in our responses to conflict. War is ‘evil’, but it can also be ‘just’; sacrifice can be ‘worthless’, but it can also be ‘glorious’. War undoubtedly brings out the worst in humankind, but it can also prompt episodes of extraordinary courage, compassion and self-sacrifice. The response of each writer and artist, journalist and photographer, to the challenges of war, while mirroring that of society as a whole, has, of course, been deeply personal and subjective. However, it is possible to identify three broad categories by which we may consider the ways in which war has been represented: ‘Art’; ‘News’; and ‘Propaganda’.
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Topic section: The art of war
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War has inspired creativity, from great music to poetry. Though war is the most urgent of news, it can also stimulate timeless reflection on the human condition.  > more

Topic section: Reporting war – war as news and entertainment
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New technology has brought more images and reportage of war into the living room. But does more mean better? There may be pressures on the media to make this most gruesome of human activities entertaining, but such pressures blur boundaries and create conflicts.  > more

Topic section: Selling war – the role of propaganda
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War reporting is often been condemned as propaganda. Wide media coverage has created support but also suspicion amongst the general public, as during the Iraq wars. If all reportage involves selectivity, is there a clean line between propaganda and truth?  > more
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