Rethinking visual criminalization: news images and the mediated spacetime of crime events

Higgins, Kathryn Claire. 2022. Rethinking visual criminalization: news images and the mediated spacetime of crime events. Visual Communication, ISSN 1470-3572 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

This article explores the mediated spacetime of crime events to reconsider how criminalization works through visual journalism. Drawing on close analysis of 45 images from Australian newspaper reports about so-called ‘African gang crime’ events in the city of Melbourne, it develops a typology of five distinct ‘ways of looking’ at crime that news images can open for their viewers. Each extends unique imaginative demands and so conditions perceptual relationships of spatial, historical and political significance between crime events and those who watch them unfold through the news in distinct ways. Together, these ways of looking constitute an intertextual representational mechanism that the author calls kaleidoscopic visuality, holding fixed the ‘who’ and ‘what’ of crime events while endlessly shifting and destabilizing the ‘where’ and ‘when’. The concept of kaleidoscopic visuality helps clarify how and why hypermediated crime events and phenomena resist discrete and/or desecuritized interpretations of their political significance, and thus broadens existing accounts of how news images criminalize.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


crime events, criminalization, imagination, mediation, news images, spacetime, visual analysis visual analysis

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


29 June 2022Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Feb 2024 11:16

Last Modified:

14 Feb 2024 11:16

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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