Mia Thornton (University of Brighton)
With the accelerated spread of globalisation and multiculturalism, questions surrounding cultural difference are becoming increasingly prominent and complex. The recent events surrounding the Mohammad caricatures show how representations of culturally significant figures can elicit a multiplicity of reactions from people, including anger, violence and intolerance. In the media, different groups responding to these events were described on one side as "not giv(ing) up their critical spirit out of fear of being accused of Islamophobia" and on another side as "what we are looking for is that you take our sensitivities in your definition [of freedom of expression]". These and other similar events reveal the complex issues involved with understanding the relationship between interpretation and cultural difference. Even if in the past few decades there has been decisive moves against perpetuating monocultural or international stereotypes, particularly in the visual communication field, there still remain many issues to be resolved in the domain of cultural difference.