Mainstreaming the Alternative: the Changing Media Practices of Protest Movements

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Mainstreaming the Alternative: the Changing Media Practices of Protest Movements. / Askanius, Tina; Gustafsson, Nils.

I: Interface: a journal for and about social movements, Vol. 2, Nr. 2, 2010, s. 23-41.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Mainstreaming the Alternative: the Changing Media Practices of Protest Movements

AU - Askanius, Tina

AU - Gustafsson, Nils

N1 - The article is published under the Creative Commons license Attribution-Non commercial-No derivatives (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - The article argues that contemporary protest movements are facing a convergence of what has traditionally been coined as mainstream and alternative media. Traditionally, the broad term ‘alternative media’ has been employed to embrace a wide range of oppositional media channels that can be considered to carry on the tradition of the early radical and party press: micro-media operating at the grassroots level, discontinuous, non-professional, persecuted or illegal. Today, heavily commercialised media and online communities such as Facebook, YouTube and MySpace constitute a common part of the repertoire of communication channels for activists engaged in alterative politics and protest movements. Are these new media channels a necessary means in order to reach beyond the circles of the likeminded? Or, do the use of these media point towards a mainstreaming process of political cultures of resistance to the establishment, eroding their very raison d’être? Combining a theoretical discussion of the inherent paradoxes in the celebration of new media technology as a source of democratisation and empowerment of civic cultures with an empirical focus aimed at exploring the changing repertoire of communicative tools used by social movement actors, this paper analyses two cases of online media practices in contemporary Scandinavian protest movements: 1) A series of civil disobedience actions and mobilisations of mass demonstrations before and after the eviction and destruction of the Youth House (Ungdomshuset) in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2007-2008; 2) The popular demonstrations in connection with the European Social Forum in Malmö, Sweden in September 2008.

AB - The article argues that contemporary protest movements are facing a convergence of what has traditionally been coined as mainstream and alternative media. Traditionally, the broad term ‘alternative media’ has been employed to embrace a wide range of oppositional media channels that can be considered to carry on the tradition of the early radical and party press: micro-media operating at the grassroots level, discontinuous, non-professional, persecuted or illegal. Today, heavily commercialised media and online communities such as Facebook, YouTube and MySpace constitute a common part of the repertoire of communication channels for activists engaged in alterative politics and protest movements. Are these new media channels a necessary means in order to reach beyond the circles of the likeminded? Or, do the use of these media point towards a mainstreaming process of political cultures of resistance to the establishment, eroding their very raison d’être? Combining a theoretical discussion of the inherent paradoxes in the celebration of new media technology as a source of democratisation and empowerment of civic cultures with an empirical focus aimed at exploring the changing repertoire of communicative tools used by social movement actors, this paper analyses two cases of online media practices in contemporary Scandinavian protest movements: 1) A series of civil disobedience actions and mobilisations of mass demonstrations before and after the eviction and destruction of the Youth House (Ungdomshuset) in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2007-2008; 2) The popular demonstrations in connection with the European Social Forum in Malmö, Sweden in September 2008.

KW - social network sites

KW - political communication

KW - protest movements

KW - social media

KW - protest culture

KW - social movements

KW - viral politics

M3 - Article

VL - 2

SP - 23

EP - 41

JO - Interface: a journal for and about social movements

T2 - Interface: a journal for and about social movements

JF - Interface: a journal for and about social movements

SN - 2009-2431

IS - 2

ER -