Media event as spectacle. An event of ceremony - that can produce prolonged history and reaffirm dominant narrative.
One of the most watched media events in the world. Locally interpreted, globally recognised. Access to the narrative belongs to those who can afford it.
Olympic city, rich source of activity. Alternative narratives - alternative politics.
Dissent is not a new thing - and it is only become more amplified by the use of mobile/internet technologies - and the latest communicative capital, social media. The ability to share data between others who think the same, rather than oppression through the locale.
And because there is data, rich with information about location, connections, content, as researchers we can take benefit of that - and there are tools available to visualise things and to archive these interactions so as academics we can make sense of it.
However- my work is predominantly ethnographic. Because even with all the data in the world, you are not going to get the full picture. The context - the motivations.
Which leaves me with confliction - because I approached my work initially from a data management and capture perspective, however, the only way to really get close to activists is to ‘go native’ - to speak their language. It is not a detached process. Through working with community groups in Vancouver, I found myself in tension between what I was expected as a researcher - and being part of the community. I noticed other academics come into the spaces, declare who they were, and the group not wanting to work with them due to their authority and position. I think what I've managed to achieve is quite special and shouldn't be taken for granted by any means. There are positions where you ask yourself are you doing enough, as you giving enough back into the space, are you taking from it and only doing it for your own benefit - not being aware of your own position and who you are in the process.
“ It is not easy to be both an academic and an activist. The values, the audiences and the constraints are different. Sitting down to write, you can feel youtself pulled in two different ways. The result is often muddled thinking and murky prose.There is too much ranting for an academic audience, and too much goobledgook for the activists. In many cases, there is no prose at all, only silence and pages crumbled in the wastebasket or erased on the screen.” (Neale, 2009 :217) “ To intervene in arguments, you have to understand the movement. That means reading the articles and books from inside the movement. It also means going to the meetings, talking to people, particpating. The arguments begin in the meeting and around drinks afterward, before they happen in print. Only by being part of a movement can you learn how to talk to activists.” ((Neale, 2009: 248)
Or to you dessminate in a way closer to the notion of the peer to peer networks, in spaces like these. To share and to pass on. Alternative media: Online and Offline Spaces Appropriating the space: Sustainability and the narrative: