Keynote abstract: Daniel Dayan

The proposed presentation offers an exploration of  the construction and reconstruction of  events by dramaturgies . It discusses two sorts of  dramaturgies . Those   that  constitute  terrorism, and those that stem from terrorism .Both  dramaturgies   can be ( a) modes of action ; ( b) interpretive elucidations,  that is  « interpretants » in Peirce’s sense ;  and  (-c) « hieroglyphs »  of sorts, by which I mean  that certain   elucidations  are themselves in need of being deciphered .

First of all , I shall discuss dramaturgies and rituals  that are staged by  terrorist organizations themselves  as part of their strategies of visibility . For a long  time  such dramaturgies were  offering   a model of the  terrorist   as an ambassador acting in the name of helpless  victims  . By now such a model seems obsolete . Another   model  has replaced   it  . It is a    model  of «  crime and punishment »  ,one that is  dominated by the staging of the victim ( whether “criminal “or not  ) as « Homo Sacer »  (Agamben)

The second part of my presentation  is  concerned with   the  examination   of societies  that  are  exposed to terror . In such societies terrorism  triggers « social dramas » ( V Turner )   that are both  very  specific and often   unexpected  .  Who  does  one mention in such societies when one discusses  terrorists?   What do the french  publics  discuss when they discuss the Bataclan massacre ?   What do   spanish  publics   argue about when they debate about  what occurred in Madrid’s  Atocha station?  What do   situations of intense stress do to     “agenda setting » ? Can one speak –in   almost freudian terms– of« displacements » of collective attention ?

In other terms , how are  certain « dramaturgic Interpretants » of  given events   made to become  prominent ?  Two  such  events , both french ,   will be discussed .   My first example concerns   the « Charlie hebdo »  killings and how they   lead to a   collective focus on what I would call the « War of the Charlies »   : «  I am  Charlie » !  » « I am no Charlie ! »  «   I am charlie  Coulibaly ! » ; « Who is Charlie ? »  My second example asks the question of what made the issue of   « hatred » or « no hatred » a major issue concerning  the « Bataclan » massacre  as in the  phrases «  J’ ai la haine »   or  « Vous n’aurez pas ma haine ! ». or  “Jamais je n’ai ressenti de haine”  .  Is there a something which  one could call the «  Syndrom of the Bataclan « , as in the famous « Stockholm Syndrom » ?   Are there   dramaturgic registers that  are specific to  traumatized societies ?  Is denial one of them ?



Daniel Dayan is a fellow of the Marcel Mauss Institute ( School of Advanced Study in the Social sciences, Paris ), and a professor at the Levinas European Institute . Dayan has been Research director   at CNRS-Paris, and a visiting professor at Sciences-Po , the universities of Stanford, Geneva, Tel Aviv, Oslo. He has also been an Annenberg scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and for many years a visiting professor of Sociology at The New School for Social Research , NY . A former fellow of the European Science Foundation,  resident of the Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio , and guest of the Institute of Advanced study ( Jerusalem ) he received the International Communication Association award for his book with Elihu Katz “Media events, The Live Broadcasting of History” , a book to be commemorated this year by the Journal “ Media Culture and Society “ . Dayan’s work is presently available in 13 languages

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Archives