Towards a Political Economy of Social Movement Media

John Downing

Abstract


Inside the academy over the past ten-twelve years, attention to social movement media has begun in earnest, though commentators in mainstream media usually have given them short shrift. However, events in the Arab region beginning in January last year generated a rush of speculation about social movement media among the commentocracy, but with an extreme focus on the supposed magic of cell phone cameras and digital networking media, the so-called ‘social media’. (Exactly which media are not social is something of a mystery to me, but let that pass.) In the years immediately preceding there had been significant uses of such media in upsurges in Iran, Greece and Thailand, but 2011 really put this aspect of social movements on the commentocracy‘s map.

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