Screening Protest

Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre


Alexa Robertson

Förlag / Utgivare


Contemporary societies are struggling with a double-edged problem of representation. Both political elites and professional journalists are challenged by rebellion in politics and a seemingly perpetual revolution in communication technology. The context is a world dependent on screens - from the large and public to the small and hand-held. It is a world in which images are paramount; a world characterized by increasingly fluid borders between political participation and insurrection (yesterday’s protester is today’s armed rebel), between the local and the global, and between news and entertainment. The proposed volume brings together a variety of scholarly perspectives to elucidate the problem of representation in this setting, in a collection of studies of mediations of political dissent across time, space, and narrative genre. The scramble to document ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ revolutions has tended to generate more heat than light, and scholarship in the digital age must be mindful that what are thought of as ‘old’ media use ‘new’ technology and formats, and that television remains the most important source of information about politics for people in most countries. With this in mind, the concept of the screen is deployed as the red thread running throughout the volume, to which all the chapters relate. It focuses on representations of protest on television screens (although others are involved). By comparing coverage in different political and cultural contexts, it documents which protests are screened out by some broadcasters, but made visible by others. Finally, the book considers how well television has met the challenge of representing the people who feel that political representation has failed them - the protesters who take to the streets of the world - and suggest how the analysis of popular culture texts could complement news analysis.

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The Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, anti-austerity protests, rallies welcoming refugees and anti-immigration marches, Black Lives Matter and Bregret. ‘What’s going on?’ is obviously a relevant question, and one asked by journalist and activist Paul Mason in his influential book of 2011, Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere. The need to ask what’s going on has not abated half a decade on, and the media play a prominent role in any answer. The contributions to this book look for answers in different places. What sets it apart from most recent scholarship on media and protest is that it does not focus on ‘new’ media. Instead, it considers the mediation of protest by focussing on screens - be they those of the cinema, or those of global television, the site where ‘new’ and ‘old’ media meet. From 19th century newsreels to CNN and Al Jazeera; from Hong Kong to Ferguson; from Spartacus to Robin Hood, the book traverses a landscape of dissent that will interest scholars, students and the general reader.

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Alexa Robertson

Alexa Robertson är professor i medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap och undervisar på masterprogrammet vid IMS. Hon är utbildad historiker med en filosofie kandidatexamen från Stirling och en masterexamen från L.S.E. Hon flyttade till IMS efter fler... Läs vidare