Paulo Barroso

Baudrillard on the Symbolic Violence of the Image

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In today’s increasingly visual and digital cultures, images are ubiquitous and excessive. We live globally in a new videosphere, where images provoke a plethora of visual information. Some public images are like ideological weapons with which a symbolic violence is exerted because their excessive use, tautological form, and imposing information. It is the power of images acting on the masses, namely on their thinking and feeling, imposing ways of being in society, social attitudes, behaviors, and actions. Images are seductive, credible, and effective, even if the messages are not true or are out of context, illusions, or simulacra, according to Baudrillard. Images produce ideologies, illusions, desires and needs, and simulacra. Therefore, Baudrillard’s perspective on images of violence and the violence of the images is relevant to understand today’s visual cultures. This article aims to relate images to their effects, namely symbolic violence. Images are signs and languages of symbolic violence, which is conceived, transmitted, and shared in the public videosphere. Following a theoretical and conceptual approach based on Baudrillard’s texts, the objective is to discuss the visual rhetoric of images of violence and the violence of the images.


  • Baudrillard
  • Image
  • Power of the Image
  • Simulacrum
  • Symbolic Violence


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