2023-08-16Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/27781
Circulation of Coronavirus Images: Helping Social Distancing?
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
soon as the SARS‐Cov2 disease was recognized by experts to potentially cause a serious pandemic, a three dimensional diagrammatic image of the virus, colored in strong red, conquered public media globally.This study confronts this iconic virus image with a historic image analysis of 33,000 biomedical articles on coronaviruses published between 1968–2020 and interviews with some of their authors.Only a small fraction of scientific virus publications entail images of the complete virus. Red as an alarm color is not used at all by scientists who don't aim for a non‐scientific public.Circulation in this case concerns the movement of iconic images from a scientific context into a general public. On the basis of hps‐studies on scientific diagrams and especially on color use in scientific diagrams to convey specific messages in public, the paper discusses the role of the claim of public corona‐virus diagram as “scientific.”It points at relevant differences between most frequent scientific corona‐virus images and the diagrammatic image used in public. Both author‐ and readerships (in science and public) follow contrasting aims and values. Thus, the images meet non‐expert readers for whom the images entail very different – and potentially unintended – meanings then to virus experts.
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