This book is an investigation into the transcultural practice of burning effigies in the framework of political protests. To this aim, the artist and author Florian Göttke has collected images of about 3000 modern political demonstrations from around the world, depicting the brutal beating and burning of political leaders stuffed effigies as an act of conjuration, revenge and justice. What transpires most from this study is the passionate and systematic character of effigy practices in highly sensitive political settings. 
Prior to this massive inventory, Florian Göttke reveals his methodological approach in a comprehensive and detailed introduction. The real epistemological contribution of this book is to successfully articulate a research methodology for collecting images as an act of knowledge. This act of knowledge being mainly based on reading said images layers after layers (the media image, the photographic image, the performed image of communal punishment and the sculpted image or effigy) in order to then reveal both their symbolic meaning and political relevance. The rest of the book goes on to demonstrate the validity of his methods through a series of case studies analyzing the surface layouts and visual significance of burning images. Gestures and expressions are particularly well narrated as being part of a living political practice that fiercely strives for agency.

Review by
Parand Danesh

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