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The Ironic Spectator

Media @ LSE Literary Festival event

Solidarity has been a key word in the ethics and politics of the 20th century. From the Spanish Civil War to the famine of Ethiopia and from human rights struggles to victims of natural disasters, solidarity has driven our multiple engagements with distant others who need our support. But what has happened to solidarity today? What does the word mean? And how are we invited to practice solidarity in our age?

In her new book, The Ironic Spectator. Solidarity in the Age of Post-humanitarianism, Lilie Chouliaraki gives a disturbing but persuasive answer to these important but often forgotten questions, by looking at how Amnesty and Oxfam appeals, Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie advocacy, the Live Aid/Live 8 concerts or BBC earthquake news have changed the ways in which we speak about solidarity today. Solidarity, she concludes, has today come to be not about conviction but choice, not vision but lifestyle, not others but ourselves - turning us into the ironic spectators of other people's suffering.

Craig Calhoun is director of LSE. He is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. He is the author of several books including Nations Matter, Critical Social Theory, Neither Gods Nor Emperors and most recently The Roots of Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

Lilie Chouliaraki is head of the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, and author of The Ironic Spectator: solidarity in the age of post-humanitarianism.

Frances Harrison was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, as well as the School of Oriental & African Studies, and Imperial College in London. For many years she worked as a foreign correspondent for the BBC posted in South Asia, South East Asia and Iran. From 2000-4 she was the resident BBC Correspondent in Sri Lanka. She has worked at Amnesty International as Head of News and while writing this book was a visiting
research fellow at Oxford University. She is author of Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War.

This event forms part of LSE's 5th Space for Thought Literary Festival|, taking place from Tuesday 25 February - Saturday 2 March 2013, with the theme 'Branching Out'.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSElitfest


Professor Craig Calhoun | talks
Professor Lilie Chouliaraki | talks
Frances Harrison | talks


Date and Time:

27 February 2013 at 7:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Sheikh Zayed Theatre
New Academic Building
London School of Economics and Political Science

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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
See other talks organised by London School of Economics & Political Science...




Available from:

All events in the Literary Festival are free and open to all, but an e-ticket is required. Tickets will be available to book via LSE E-Shop after 10am on Monday 4 February 2013.

For any queries email events@lse.ac.uk

Additional Information:

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event, or on our website lse.ac.uk/events

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