DRAMATURGIES SPEAK OF TERROR , DRAMATURGIES SPEAK TO TERROR
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