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Media and Revolt

Media and Revolt: Strategies and Performances from the 1960s to the Present

Kathrin Fahlenbrach
Erling Sivertsen
Rolf Werenskjold
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 432
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  • Book Info
    Media and Revolt
    Book Description:

    In what ways have social movements attracted the attention of the mass media since the sixties? How have activists influenced public attention via visual symbols, images, and protest performances in that period? And how do mass media cover and frame specific protest issues? Drawing on contributions from media scholars, historians, and sociologists, this volume explores the dynamic interplay between social movements, activists, and mass media from the 1960s to the present. It introduces the most relevant theoretical approaches to such issues and offers a variety of case studies ranging from print media, film, and television to Internet and social media.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-999-2
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. viii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction. Media and Protest Movements
    (pp. 1-16)
    Kathrin Fahlenbrach, Erling Sivertsen and Rolf Werenskjold

    In his famous protest song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (1969/70), Gil Scott-Heron made a strong contrast between the mass media and revolution: on the one hand, a passive consumerist culture that is dominated by television; on the other, protest and revolution on the streets of those who are marginalized in society and will never become visible in television culture. Like many other protesters around 1968, Scott-Heron proclaimed a general change of society, a revolution, as the only way of providing emancipation and equal rights for marginalized social groups. Television, being part and instrument of the preestablished order and...

  6. Part I. Systematic Approaches to Protest and Media

    • Chapter 1 Changes of Protest Groups’ Media Strategies from a Long-Term Perspective
      (pp. 19-40)
      Dieter Rucht

      This chapter explores the relationship between protest groups and the mass media with a special but not exclusive emphasis on progressive leftist groups in West Germany. It aims at answering two questions: What are the basic shifts of leftist (or progressive) groups’ media strategies from the 1950s to the present? What factors, both exogenous and endogenous, have influenced these strategic shifts?

      Conceptually, the analysis will rely on a distinction between four ways in which protest groups can deal with media. It is argued that in different periods, protest groups put different emphasis on one or several of these media-related strategies....

    • Chapter 2 Framing Collective Action
      (pp. 41-58)
      Bert Klandermans

      While I am writing this chapter, my newspaper is commemorating the revolution in Romania. We all remember the pictures of Ceausescu standing on a balcony overlooking a crowd mobilized in his support. Unexpectedly, the crowd begins to hiss and shout. Disbelief and confusion strike Ceausescu’s face. He turns around and disappears inside the building. As the event was orchestrated to boost Ceausescu’s popularity, it was broadcast around the country. A few days later Ceausescu had fallen. For once, the revolutionwastelevised.

      Of course, the actual Romanian revolution had already been imminent for much longer, in an unobtrusive manner—as...

    • Chapter 3 Demonstrations, Protest, and Communication: Changing Media Landscapes—Changing Media Practices?
      (pp. 59-74)
      Ralph Negrine

      The title of this chapter is taken from a well-known British study,Demonstrations and Communication(1970), which set out to examine how the anti-Vietnam demonstrations in London in 1968 were covered by the media. The authors—James Halloran, Graham Murdock and Phillip Elliott—set out to understand and explain how journalists in the British print and broadcast media came to construct a particular version of that news event and to disseminate that version to a wider public.

      It was a groundbreaking study coming at the beginning of the expansion of communication studies in Britain and at a time when there...

    • Chapter 4 Culture and Protest in Media Frames
      (pp. 75-90)
      Baldwin Van Gorp

      The news media and social movement organizations, including institutionalized interest groups and ad hoc protest groups, form interacting systems. The connections, however, must be characterized as asymmetrical. Gamson and Wolfsfeld (1993) discern three reasons why movements need to generate media attention that fits their own purpose in a positive way: first, to mobilize members and raise funds; second, to legitimize the movement’s existence; and third, to broaden public acceptance for its aspirations.

      Movements can attract media attention by organizing manifestations, from rallies and sit-ins to wild demonstrations and protest marches. During these “public shows,” movements and news media can find...

    • Chapter 5 When Journalists Frame the News
      (pp. 91-106)
      Sigurd Allern

      Organizers of social protest movements, demonstrations, and meetings directed against the powers that be often have a strained relationship with the news media. They want media coverage, and are disappointed if the mobilization of thousands or even tens of thousands of people fails to make headlines. On the other hand, they also know from experience that when social protests are treated as “hot news,” the coverage may well highlight aspects less favorable for their social and political cause, like clashes between the police and small groups of ski-masked activists. During the wide-ranging demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in Seattle...

  7. Part II. Protest in the Mass Media around 1968:: Print, Film, and Television

    • Chapter 6 Constructing a Media Image of the Sessantotto: The Framing of the Italian Protest Movement in 1968
      (pp. 109-125)
      Stuart Hilwig

      The student uprisings that swept the world in the late 1960s quickly achieved widespread notoriety, due in large part to the power of the media to disseminate words and create images that kindled strong emotions among the general population. Perhaps at no time in modern history had scattered protest groups received the attention of so many forms of media, so quickly, and with such widespread circulation. Though the live imagery of televised student battles with police leaps to mind, for many observers of the 1968 student revolt, dramatic news photographs and provocative headlines were equally important in constructing an image...

    • Chapter 7 Photos in Frames or Frames in Photos? The Global 1968 Revolts in Three Norwegian Dailies
      (pp. 126-146)
      Rolf Werenskjold and Erling Sivertsen

      In 1968, press photographers played an important role in the (re)presentation and interpretation of the many protests. The images could mobilize public sympathy and awareness, but also shock and agitate readers (Becker 2003: 291–308). Press photos have been considered an important social force, able to foster changes in the political system (Ritchin 2003: 62–73).

      Based on a quantitative analysis of the total photo coverage in the three largest Norwegian daily newspapers in 1968, this chapter discusses the role such photos played in the coverage of the demonstrations, strikes, and revolts. More specifically, what kind of framing did the...

    • Chapter 8 Revolt in Photos: The French May ’68 in the Student and Mainstream Press
      (pp. 147-164)
      Antigoni Memou

      The black-and-white photographs of students demonstrating, occupying universities, constructing barricades, setting fires on street corners, throwing flaming Molotov cocktails, and fighting with the police, taken during the events in Paris in May 1968, stand as quintessential images of a remarkable revolt. Initially published in newspapers, magazines, leaflets, and activist material, the photographs were later reproduced on the internet, in photobooks, in academic books, in institutional displays, and kept in public and private archives. Historians, political theorists, and sociologists have used these photographs to “illustrate” their accounts of the ’68 events, disregarding the ability of photography to be a source of...

    • Chapter 9 Guarding News for the Movement: The Guardian and the Vietnam War, 1954–70
      (pp. 165-181)
      Naoko Koda

      Since the founding of the United States, dissident journalism has been integral to the political fabric of movements for social justice and political equality. The Boston-based abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, for example, published an antislavery weekly newspaper, theLiberator,between 1831 and 1865. A century later, the anti–Vietnam War movement produced a number of dissident newspapers that challenged the orthodoxy of the mainstream press. At the forefront of this movement was the(National) Guardian¹ newspaper, a radical leftist weekly based in New York City. During what theGuardiantermed “America’s imperial war against the Vietnamese,” the weekly served both...

    • Chapter 10 From “We Shall Overcome” to “We Shall Overrun”: The Transformation of US Media Coverage of the Black Freedom Struggle, 1964–68, in Comparative Perspective
      (pp. 182-196)
      David Carter

      Media coverage of civil rights demonstrations in the United States played a critical and well-documented role in arousing the national conscience and laying the groundwork for the landmark civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965. Sit-ins, freedom rides, fire hoses, police dogs, and gas-masked figures on foot and on horseback swinging nightsticks amid roiling clouds of tear gas against a silhouetted steel structure: together these and other images form the iconography of the civil rights era. Civil rights veteran John Lewis, whose own activist trajectory intersected so many of these visual tableaux, argues that “if it hadn’t been for the...

    • Chapter 11 Taking the Revolution to the Big Screen: A Taxonomy of Social Movements’ Uses of Cinema in the 1960s and 1970s
      (pp. 197-216)
      Stefan Eichinger

      The 1960s and 1970s witnessed social movements around the world engender a flurry of episodes of political contention. Among these movements featured student and labor movements in North America and Western Europe; antidictatorial movements in Eastern and Southern Europe as well as Latin America; and national independence movements in Africa and colonialist vestiges elsewhere.¹ Social movements in the 1960s and 1970s drew on a wide media repertoire for propagating their political claims. One element of that repertoire that has thus far been largely understudied, however, is their varied uses of cinema. This chapter, then, intends to remedy that omission by...

    • Chapter 12 Challenging Television’s Revolution: Media Representations of 1968 Protests in Television and Tabloids
      (pp. 217-233)
      Todd Michael Goehle

      This chapter surveys the media politics surrounding West German public television and its representation of social and student protest movements around 1968. The meanings attached to public television and its representation of social and student protest did not develop in isolation but rather inside a dynamic media system, one in which numerous interests, including television personalities, print elites, social and student activists, and audiences, looked to satisfy political agendas and entertainment desires from varying sites of power. Diverse personal factors, for example, an individual’s political ideology, status in media conflicts, and media preferences, also shaped representations of social and student...

    • Chapter 13 Protest in Television: Visual Protest on Screen
      (pp. 234-250)
      Kathrin Fahlenbrach

      The rise of television as a leading mass medium in the 1960s marks a turning point in the history of protest movements in Western democracies. Public attention via television became a relevant currency of political power, and political actors have since had to adapt to its criteria of news coverage.¹ This implied a change of political discourses in public: since then, according to the criteria of media selection, they have to concur today not only in terms of political programs and goals, but also in terms of media adequacy.²

      The first part of this chapter will elaborate on the 1960s...

  8. Part III. Professional Strategies of Protest across the Media after 1968

    • Chapter 14 Representing Black Power: Handling a “Revolution” in the Age of Mass Media
      (pp. 253-266)
      Craig J. Peariso

      After attending a Black Panther Party press conference in 1967, a reporter for the San FranciscoChroniclewrote, “If a Hollywood director were to choose them as stars of a movie melodrama of revolution, he would be accused of typecasting” (quoted in Moore 1971: 257). While this reporter quickly backed away from suggesting that there was anything suspicious about the Panthers’ media-friendly tactics—saying that party founders Bobby Seale and Huey Newton “are not actors and this is not Hollywood”—others were not so politic. Drama critic Robert Brustein, for example, wrote that the party’s press conferences and photo-ops suggest...

    • Chapter 15 Throwing Bombs in the Consciousness of the Masses: The Red Army Faction and Its Mediality
      (pp. 267-282)
      Hanno Balz

      When we look at the research on “terrorism,”¹ urban guerrillas, and militant struggles in contemporary history, the role of the media has been strongly emphasized in publications during the last two decades.²

      One historic example of great prominence is the Red Army Faction (RAF), whose urban guerrilla struggle had an enduring effect on West German society, especially during the 1970s. Recently, the role of the media in the conflict between the RAF and the West German state has been examined more thoroughly (see Balz 2008; Elter 2008). In this chapter, I will discuss the chosen media strategy adopted by the...

    • Chapter 16 On Dynamic Processes of Framing, Counterframing, and Reframing: The Case of the Greenpeace Whale Campaign in Norway
      (pp. 283-299)
      Juliane Riese

      Greenpeace is famous for the media successes it achieves through flamboyant and often confrontational as well as emotional communication; simple and powerful framings of issues; the use of strong visual imagery and symbolism; and snappy, often vernacular rhetoric (Livesey 2001; Tsoukas 1999; Murphy and Dee 1992). This chapter discusses a case in which this media-savvy organization was unsuccessful: the campaign against whaling in Norway. This campaign not only failed to put a stop to Norwegian whaling, but was actually counterproductive with regard to the public impression it helped form in Norway.

      Benford (1997: 412) argues that studies of “negative cases”...

    • Chapter 17 The Limits to Transnational Attention: Rise and Fall in the European Social Forums’ Media Resonance
      (pp. 300-316)
      Simon Teune

      In the wake of the World Social Forum (WSF), the idea of an open space for critics of neoliberal globalization to convene spread throughout the world (Smith et al. 2011). Becoming a public stage and part of the infrastructure of global justice movements (GJMs), local, regional, and national social forums were organized based on the WSF charter of principles. The charter envisions a global process that opens up alternatives to neoliberal globalization.¹ As part of this process, social forum events are organized to facilitate debates among diverse political actors without aiming at joint action.

      Global justice activists in Europe decided...

  9. Part IV. Protest in the Digital Age:: Performing and Covering Protest on the Internet

    • Chapter 18 Global Protest in Online News
      (pp. 319-335)
      Øystein Pedersen Dahlen

      In a very short time, online newspapers have become an important news channel, on a par with television, radio, and newspapers. Most online newspapers were established by newspapers or television stations and continue many journalistic traditions and tasks. Thus, in online newspapers, journalists still perform a gatekeeper function in their daily work, and news priorities have to be on the front pages as well as in the individual stories. Focus is still on the recent, dramatic events that are believed to be relevant to the audience. The pace of updating news has even been sped up in the online world....

    • Chapter 19 Cyberprotest: Protest in the Digital Age
      (pp. 336-350)
      Luca Rossi and Giovanni Boccia Artieri

      In order to fully understand contemporary protest movements, it is necessary to frame them in the wider picture of how the relationship between media and society has changed during the digital age. In this communication-centered scenario, every aspect of how protest movements act today can be described as a consequence of (or as an opportunity offered by) the new media scene in which protest takes place.

      Within this perspective communication practices have the power to impact on every social system and to contribute, together with many different social actors, to the continuous reflexive reshaping of them. This analytical framework is...

    • Chapter 20 Insurgency in the Age of the Internet: The Case of the Zapatistas
      (pp. 351-365)
      Roy Krøvel

      The Zapatista uprising began in January 1994, as use of the internet started to spread in Mexico. Mexico was still ruled by the often authoritarian Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), and the media was far from free. The first communiqué from the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) placed the movement solidly within a Latin American tradition of guerrilla organizations. Numerous Mexican guerrillas had been formed after the brutal repression of student demonstrations in 1968. In 1994, the Zapatistas demanded land for landless peasants and called for a national revolution to roll back liberal economic reforms and the North American Free...

    • Chapter 21 Punks, Hackers, and Unruly Technology: Countercultures in the Communication Society
      (pp. 366-385)
      Hendrik Storstein Spilker

      This article will explore how the punk movement has appropriated the internet and other digital technologies as part of its cultural and political repertoire. Traditionally, the punk movement has rejected the use of mass media for tactical measures. It has instead focused on the construction of alternative communication and distribution channels based on the principles of do-ityourself (DIY). Initially, we expect that some of the supposed capabilities of the internet offer new possibilities for DIY-based action. Our research therefore revolves around the question of whether the internet and other digital technologies have been taken up and utilized as an opportunity...

    • Chapter 22 Public Spaces and Alternative Media Practices in Europe: The Case of the EuroMayDay Parade against Precarity
      (pp. 386-405)
      Nicole Doerr and Alice Mattoni

      This chapter deals with the role of emerging transnational public spaces for communication and collective identification in contemporary social movement groups in different European countries and at the transnational level of European Union (EU) politics. Related to globalization, European integration, and the increasing use of internet communication technologies (ICTs) by activists, national public spaces in the twenty-seven member states of the EU pass through a process of transformation that might deeply redefine democratic and participation practices. In this chapter, we discuss the emergence of a loose critical Europeanist collective identity¹ revolving around the political concept of “precarity” and linked to...

  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 406-411)
  11. Index
    (pp. 412-419)