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Mainstreaming the Alternative: The Changing Media Practices of Protest Movements

  • Alice Mattoni (Dr)
Publiceringsår: 2010
Språk: Engelska
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Interface: a journal for and about social movements
Volym: 2009
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel


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.



  • Social Sciences


  • Wahlgrenska stiftelsen
  • Viral politik. Politisk mobilisering i sociala medier
  • ISSN: 2009-2431

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