Acknowledging the emerging presence and mediated manifestation of suffering within our contemporary society, questions arise concerning audiences' perceptions of and reactions to mediated human suffering. These questions have gained importance in a society where 'distance' is becoming increasinly relative due to processes of globalization. It is vital to discover how these processes contribute to spectators' moral and emotional attitude towards distant suffering.
This project addresses the need for more empirical studies in the field of audience research related to (distant) suffering while also taking contemporary globalization processes into account. It is the key ambition of the project to understand the interaction between and the impact that mediated representations of human suffering can have on the audience by conducting quantitative and qualitative audience-based research. Henceforth, the central research question underpinning the project is an investigation of audience perceptions, the imposed moral implications of and responses to factual representations of suffering: How do media texts affect and interact with people’s discourses, moral/emotional positions and discursive practices of media consumption related to suffering?