Dr. Bart Cammaerts - The Mediation of Dissensus


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Workshop on Alternative Ways of Participation.
7th and 8th of February 2014 in Istanbul

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Dr. Bart Cammaerts - The Mediation of Dissensus

  1. 1. The Mediation of Dissensus Dr. Bart Cammaerts London School of Economics and Political Science
  2. 2. Opportunity Structures Social Movement Theory: the agentic opportunities as well as structural constraints that impact on the success or failure of social movements fits with structuration theory (Giddens), but also with the idea that resistance is integral to understand the dynamic between generative and restrictive power (Foucault)
  3. 3. Mediation Media and Communication Studies: dialectic concept as well: Production/Reception Alternative/Mainstream Public/Private Traditional Media/New Media Symbolic/Material also implicates the (active) audiences and the user of technology in the mediation process
  4. 4. Mediation Opportunity Structure Made up of four inter-connected components: Performance of resistance Self-mediation practices Mainstream media representations Resonance and public opinion
  5. 5. Performance of Resistance The Spectacle of Protest in the Society of the Spectacle (Guy Debord) Disruption of elite-organised media events Creation of DIY-Spectacles Resistance and the Carnivalesque (Mikhail Bakhtin) Temporary transgressions world upside-down Mockery
  6. 6. Performance of Resistance Performing Dissensus Insurrectionary Symbolic Violence Antithesis of Bourdieu’s Symbolic Violence Isolated, Targetted and insignificant without its mediation Occupations of elite spaces, damage of property, disruption and seeking confrontations with police
  7. 7. Self-Mediation Practices Technologies of Self (Foucault, 1997: 234-47) Disclosure of Self: : ‘the cultivation of the self’ Examination of Self: ‘taking stock’ and self-reflexivity Remembrance of Self: ‘memorizations of deeds’
  8. 8. Technologies of Self-Mediation Logics of Self-Mediation Disseminate movement frames Mobilise for direct actions Organise the movement Coordinate direct actions Record protest events Archive protest artefacts Disclosur e Examinatio n Remembranc e Media Center - Occupy Wall Street (US) Twitter-Graffiti - Gezi (Turkey)
  9. 9. Technologies of Self-Mediation Real Time/Fleeting Asynchronous/Permanent Public/Outward Radio TV Streaming Social Media Essays/Manifestos Posters, Stickers and Flyers Paintings, Murals and Street Art Film, Video and Photographs Social Media and Website Private/Inward Telephone Internet Relay Chat VoIP Letters Email Text Messages Private Messages on SNS
  10. 10. Mainstream Media Representation Mainstream media remains important (cf. Rucht, 2013) To reach beyond the like-minded To increase the scope of conflict To legitimise a struggle Processes of adaptation to the media logic
  11. 11. Mainstream Media Representation Negative Bias? Usually yes, but…mainstream media is not a unified actor Construction of dichotomy of the good - peaceful - protester and the bad - violent - protester Also a focus on police violence Activists increasingly develop strategies to manage the media
  12. 12. Reception and Audiences as Publics Mediation is not merely constituted in the production of frames in text and images, but crucially also in the way in which these are received. Those in whose name protests are organised and democratic decisions taken Black-boxed Often represented as passive actors, juxtaposed by the active audience and the user of technology The Spivakean Subaltern which is heterogeneous, disparate; ceases to be subaltern when they speak
  13. 13. The Mediation Opportunity Structure • Should be seen as semi-independent from other opportunity structures • Relates to discursive struggles (war of position) • Includes the production, dissemination, and reception of movement frames • Is dialectic and has a spatial as well as temporal dimension