The SAGE Handbook of Media Studies


Edited by: John D. H. Downing, Denis McQuail, Philip Schlesinger & Ellen Wartella

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Prolegomena

    Part II: Audiences, Users, and Effects

    Part III: Economy and Power

    Part IV: Specific Areas of Media Research

  • Introduction

    Media and communication research is a diverse and stimulating field of inquiry, not only in subject matter but also in purposes and methodologies. Over the past twenty years, and in step with the contemporary shift toward trans-disciplinarity, Media Studies has rapidly developed a very significant body of theory and evidence. Media Studies is here to stay and scholars in the discipline have a vital contribution to make. The SAGE Handbook of Media Studies surveys and evaluates the theories, practices, and future of the field.

    Editor John Downing and associate editors Denis McQuail, Philip Schlesinger, and Ellen Wartella have brought together a team of international contributors to provide a varied critical analysis of this intensely interesting field of study. The Handbook offers a comprehensive review within five interconnected areas: humanistic and social scientific approaches; global and comparative perspectives; the relation of media to economy and power; media users; and elements in the media mosaic ranging from media ethics to advertising, from popular music to digital technologies, and from Hollywood and Bollywood to alternative media.

    The contributors to The Handbook are from Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, France, Guatemala, India, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, and the United States. Each contributor offers a unique perspective on topics broad in scope.

    The Handbook is an ideal resource for university media researchers, for faculty developing new courses and revising curricula, and for graduate courses in media studies. It is also a necessary addition to any academic library.


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    I would like to thank all the contributors to this volume; my fellow-editors; Margaret Seawell and Julia Hall, Acquisitions Editors at Sage California and London, and Claudia Hoffman, Project Editor at Sage California; Caroline Frith, editorial assistant, and doctoral candidate at the University of Texas, Austin; my former faculty and staff colleagues, friends and students in the Radio-Television-Film Department at UT-Austin; my current faculty and staff colleagues, friends and students in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in particular Dean Manjunath Pendakur; my partner of many happy years, Ash Corea; and our daughters.

    I dedicate this volume to the memory of Dr Marjorie Ferguson, journalist, researcher, teacher, formerly of Woman magazine, the London School of Economics and the University of Maryland, whose intellectual perspicacity, personal warmth and sardonic wit served as a model for researchers in media, and beyond.

    JohnDowningGlobal Media Research Center, Southern Illinois University
  • Author Index

    About the Editors

    John D. H. Downing is Director of the Global Media Research Center in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts at Southern Illinois University. From 1990–2003, he was John T. Jones, Jr., Centennial Professor of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. His published books include The Media Machine (1980), Radical Media (1984/2001), Film and Politics in the Third World (1987), Questioning the Media (coeditor, 1990/1995), Internationalizing Media Theory (1996), and Representing “Race” (with Charles Husband, 2004). He is a member of the editorial team of the new journal Global Media and Communication and editor of the forthcoming Sage Encyclopedia of Alternative Media.

    Denis McQuail is Emeritus Professor at the School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, and Visiting Professor, University of Southampton, England. He graduated in modern history at the University of Oxford and took his Ph.D. at the University of Leeds, where he worked in the Granada Television Research Unit. Subsequently he taught sociology at the University of Southampton before taking the Chair in Mass Communication at the University of Amsterdam. He has researched and written on a range of media-related topics, especially political communication, audiences, standards of press performance, media policy, and communication theory. He has held a variety of visiting posts at a number of universities including the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Harvard, and the universities of Tampere, Moscow, Minho (Portugal), the Catholic University of Portugal, Seijo (Tokyo), and Doshisha (Kyoto). He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Gent. His publications include Television in Politics (with Jay Blumler, 1968), Communication Models (with Sven Windahl, 1981/93), Mass Communication Theory(several editions, 1983–2005), Media Performance (1992), Audience Analysis (1997), and Media Accountability and Freedom of Publication (2003). A number of these have been translated into several languages. He is currently an editor of the European Journal of Communication and board member of Political Communication and Gazette.

    Philip Schlesinger is Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of Stirling, where he is Director of Stirling Media Research Institute. He has been a visiting Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo, has held the Queen Victoria Eugenia chair at the Complutense University of Madrid, and was a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute. He is a Fellow both of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Arts and an Academician of the UK's Academy of Social Sciences. A long-standing editor of Media, Culture & Society journal, he has written extensively on media, communications, and cultural questions and his work has been widely translated. His current research focuses on European communicative space, cultural creativity, and the representation of exile. His most recent, co-authored, books, are Open Scotland? (2001) and Mediated Access (2003).

    Ellen A. Wartella was appointed Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University of California, Riverside, after serving as Dean of the College of Communication at the University of Texas, the largest and most comprehensive communication college in the country. Dr. Wartella earned her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota in 1977 and completed her postdoctoral research in development psychology in 1981 at the University of Kansas. An active scholar whose research focuses on the effects of media on child development; she held the Walter Cronkite Regents Chair in Communication, Mrs. Mary Gibbs Jones Centennial Chair in Communication, UNESCO Chair in Communication, and Professor of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas. She has written and edited several books and has published numerous book chapters and journal articles on mass media and communications. Dr. Wartella is co-principal investigator on the Children's Research Initiative, a five-year, multisite research project funded by NSF. She serves on several national boards including the Decade of Behavior National Advisory Committee; The National Academies of Sciences Board on Children, Youth, and Families; The Sesame Workshop; Kraft Foods Global Health and Wellness Advisory Council; and The National Educational Advisory Board for the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

    About the Contributors

    Alan B. Albarran is Professor and Chair of the Department of Radio, Television and Film at the University of North Texas, Denton, and Editor of the Journal of Media Economics. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Marshall University and a Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. His publications range from articles in scholarly journals, edited volumes, and six books, including Time and Media Markets (2003); Media Economics: Understanding Markets, Industries and Concepts (2nd ed., 2002); Management of Electronic Media (2nd ed., 2002); and Understanding the Web: Social, Political, and Economic Dimensions of the Internet (2000). He is Editor for a new Handbook of Media Management and Economics to be published in 2005. He has lectured in several countries, including Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy, Finland, Switzerland, and Mexico. He will present a workshop on media economics in China in 2005.

    Sandra Braman is a Professor of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Chair of the Communication Law and Policy of the International Communication Association. Her current work includes Change of State: An Introduction to Information Policy (in press) and the edited volume Communication Researchers and Policy-makers (2003), The Emergent Global Information Policy Regime (2004), and The Meta-technologies of Information: Biotechnology and Communication (2004). With Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation support, she has been working on problems associated with the effort to bring the research and communication policy communities more closely together. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1988 and previously served as Reese Phifer Professor at the University of Alabama, Henry Rutgers Research Fellow at Rutgers University, and Research Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois-Urbana.

    Brigitta Busch, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Applied Linguistics, University of Vienna. Between 1999 and 2003, she was the head of the Centre for Intercultural Studies at the University of Klagenfurt. During her work as an expert for the Council of Europe's Confidence-Building Measures Programme, she was involved in a number of intercultural projects in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Her main research interests focus on sociolinguistics (multilingualism), discourse analysis, media policies, and intercultural communication. Recent publications include the following: Sprachen im Disput. Medien und Öffentlichkeit in multilingualen Gesellschaften (2004); Bewegte Identitäten. Medien in transkulturellen Kontexten (with B. Hipfl and K. Robins, 2001); and Language, Discourse and Borders: Current Issues in Language and Society (coedited with H. Kelly-Holmes).

    Clifford Christians is a Research Professor of Communications, Professor of Journalism, and Professor of Media Studies at the Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois-Urbana. He has published widely in media ethics and is the author or coauthor of Responsibility in Mass Communication (with William Rivers and Wilbur Schramm, 3rd ed., 1980), Jacques Ellul: Interpretive Essays (with Jay Van Hook, 1981), Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning (with Mark Fackler, Kim Rotzoll, and Kathy McKee, six editions, 1938–2000), Communication Ethics and Universal Values (with Michael Traber, 1997), and Moral Engagement in Public Life: Theorists for Contemporary Ethics (with Sharon Bracci, 2002). His research and teaching interests include the philosophy of technology, communication theory, and professional ethics. He has won five University of Illinois teaching awards.

    Alfonso Gumucio Dagron is a development communication specialist with experience in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Before becoming the Managing Director of the Communication for Social Change Consortium, he worked 7 years with UNICEF in Nigeria and Haiti and served as international communication specialist for FAO, UNDP, and UNESCO, among other United Nations agencies. He is familiar with issues of communication for child rights, indigenous populations, arts and culture, human rights, community organization, health, and sustainable development. His major country experience also includes Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique, Mexico, Guatemala, and Bolivia, his home country. He is the author of various studies on communication and has also published several books of his poetry and narrative. As a filmmaker, he directed documentaries on cultural and social issues.

    Edward Donnerstein is a Professor of Communication and Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona. Prior to his appointment at Arizona in 2002, he was the Rupe Chair in the Social Effects of Mass Communication and Dean of Social Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A social psychologist, he received his Ph.D. in psychology and held appointments at the University of Wisconsin, as well as visiting positions at the University of Lethbridge and Beijing University, China. His major research interests are in mass media violence and mass media policy. He has published more than 200 scientific articles in these general areas and serves on the editorial boards of academic journals in both psychology and communication. He has testified at numerous governmental hearings both in the United States and abroad regarding the effects and policy implications surrounding mass media violence and pornography, including testimony before the U.S. Senate on TV violence.

    Joke Hermes teaches television studies in the Department of Media Studies (Faculty of the Humanities), University of Amsterdam. Her research interests focus on questions of genre and gender in popular culture and cultural citizenship. She is coeditor and founder of the European Journal of Cultural Studies. Her publications include Reading Women's Magazines (1995), The Media in Question (1998), and Rereading Popular Culture (2005), in addition to articles on gender and media in edited collections, as well as popular television from the perspective of audiences in journals.

    Michele Hilmes is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies and Director of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author or editor of several books on broadcasting history, including The Television History Book, Radio Voices: American Broadcasting 1922–1952, Only Connect: A Cultural History of Broadcasting in the United States, and The Radio Reader: Essays in the Cultural History of Broadcasting.

    Todd Joseph Miles Holden is a Professor of Mediated Sociology and Chair of the Department of Multicultural Societies in the Graduate School of International Cultural Studies (GSICS) at Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan. He has written extensively on the themes of globalization, identity, gender, political values, and societal development in a number of cultural contexts, including Japan, Malaysia, and the United States. The media he has assayed include television, advertisements, cell phones, the Internet, novels, and film. His recent works include Globalization, Culture and Inequality in Asia (2003), coedited with Tim Scrase and Scott Baum, and medi@sia: Communication and Society In and Out of Global Cultural Context (forthcoming). He writes a regular column for the e-zine PopMatters, earnestly dabbles in philosophical fiction, and has created and maintains a number of institutional and personal Web sites.

    Myungkoo Kang is a Professor of Communication Studies at Seoul National University. His publications include books and articles on discourse politics of modernization and politics of journalism in South Korea. In 2002, he edited a special issue on the Korean economic crisis in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movement as a forum for critical intellectuals and social activists in the Asian region. Currently, he is working on a book on the cultural history of consumption in South Korea, focusing on the material and cultural conditions of modern life. He has been involved in various kinds of social activism since the late 1980s, including media reform movements and community access media movements. In February 2003, he finished the report “Building a Participatory Community Access Media: Toward an Expressive Public Sphere.”

    Jenny Kitzinger is a Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Cardiff University. Her work examines power struggles in media production processes and is particularly concerned with questions of media influence and audience reception. She has also written extensively about focus group research methods. Her empirical research projects (funded by major awards from bodies such as the ESRC, the Wellcome Trust, and the NHS executive) have focused on two main areas: (a) sexual violence and (b) risk, health, and science controversies. She has published more than 100 articles and chapters on these issues. Recent books include Framing Abuse: How the Media Influence Us; The Circuit of Mass Communication: Media Strategies, Representation and Audience Reception in the AIDS Crisis; Developing Focus Group Research: Politics, Theory and Practice; and Mass Media and Power in Modern Britain.

    Tannis M. MacBeth (formerly Tannis MacBeth Williams) is a developmental psychologist in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, where she has contributed to the development of women's studies undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as the university's Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations. The common thread underlying her research has been her focus on social issues. Her interest in media content and effects began with her discovery in 1973 of a town without television; that research was published as Williams, T. M. (Ed.), The Impact of Television: A Natural Experiment in Three Communities. Her current teaching and research continue to reflect her media and feminist interests. She also studies the role of stereotypes for beliefs about the menstrual, lunar, and day-of-week cycles, as well as the attachment styles of adult twins.

    Daniel G. McDonald is currently Professor of Communication at Ohio State University, where he is also Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1983. His research focuses on social-psychological aspects of audience uses of the media. Most recently, he has been concerned with intra-audience effects—the effects of audience members on each other through their reactions to media content. His work has been published in a number of journals in the field, including Communication Research, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, and the Journal of Communication.

    Emily Moyer-Gusé is currently a graduate student in the Communication Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her M.A. in communication at Michigan State University. Her research interests center on children's understanding and processing of media as well as mass media effects on children and adolescents.

    Veena Naregal (Ph.D., University of London) is Reader at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. Her research and teaching interests include South Asian cultural and political history, globalisation and media, and Asian cinemas. She is currently working on two projects: one on comparative media histories in Asia, and another on political patronage and vernacular culture in Western India. She is author of Language Politics, Elites and the Public Sphere: Western India Under Colonialism.

    Erik Neveu is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Rennes 1 (France). He belongs to the editorial board of Réseaux and to the Centre de Recherche sur l'Action Politique en Europe, one of the major French political science research teams. His research interest targets journalism and the public sphere, social movements, cultural studies, and gender studies. He recently published Sociologie du journalisme (2001); Political Journalism, New Practices, New Challenges (coedited with R. Kuhn, 2002); Introduction aux Cultural Studies (with A. Mattelart, 2003); and Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field (coedited with R. Benson, 2004). He is currently developing, with Annie Collovald, a reception study among the French readers of detective novels, questioning the linkages between these reading habits and their biographies.

    Horace Newcomb is the Director of the George Foster Peabody Awards Program and holds the Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabody Awards in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. He received a B.A. from Mississippi College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. He is the author of TV: The Most Popular Art (1974), coauthor of The Producer's Medium (1983), and editor of six editions of Television: The Critical View (1976–2000). In 1973–1974, while teaching full-time, he was also the daily television columnist for the Baltimore Morning Sun. He is the editor of The Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Television, a three-volume reference work containing more than 1,200 entries on major people, programs, and topics related to television in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

    Virginia Nightingale is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication, Design and Media at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. Her scholarly writing has focused on the theories and practice of audience research. Her research activities address the impact of mass media on children's culture. This research has included work on television advertising and children, children's understanding of the concept of media harm, and children's understanding of violence in media images. Earlier research focused on cross-cultural studies of audiences. She is the author of Studying Audiences: The Shock of the Real (1996). With Karen Ross, she is coauthor of Media and Audiences: New Perspectives (2003) and coeditor of Critical Readings: Media and Audiences (2003).

    Alisa Perren is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas, Austin. Her primary research interests are in media industry studies, American film and television history, and the development of niche markets in contemporary Hollywood. She has published articles on Miramax's marketing and distribution practices as well as on the development of new U.S. broadcast and cable networks in the 1990s.

    Tom Schatz is Warner Regents Professor (and former Chairman) of the Radio-Television-Film Department at the University of Texas, where he is currently the Executive Director of the UT Film Institute. He has written four books about Hollywood films and filmmaking, including Hollywood Genres, The Genius of the System, and, most recently, Boom and Bust: American Cinema in the 1940s. His writing on film also has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and journals, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Premiere, The Nation, Film Comment, and Cineaste. He is currently writing a book on MCA-Universal with Thom Mount, former president of Universal Pictures. As Executive Director of the newly created Film Institute at the University of Texas, Schatz oversees the development of a program devoted to training students in narrative and digital filmmaking, as well as the actual production of feature-length commercial films (in partnership with its commercial counterpart, Burnt Orange Productions).

    Holli A. Semetko is Vice Provost of International Affairs and Director of the Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning and Professor of Political Science at Emory University. Her research interests include media effects on political attitudes, the role and influence of media in elections and politics, European politics and public opinion, and cross-national comparative research. She has lived and worked in Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Amsterdam School of Communications Research at the University of Amsterdam, where she held the chair of audience and public opinion research from 1995 to 2003. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the London School of Economics & Political Science in 1987.

    John Sinclair is a Professor in the School of Communication, Culture and Languages at Victoria University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. He has been researching the globalization of media for more than 20 years, with special reference to the internationalization of the advertising and commercial television industries, particularly in developing regions such as Latin America and India. His published work includes Images Incorporated: Advertising as Industry and Ideology, Latin American Television: A Global View, and the coedited works New Patterns in Global Television: Peripheral Vision (with Liz Jacka and Stuart Cunningham) and Floating Lives: The Media and Asian Diasporas (with Stuart Cunningham). He has held visiting professorships at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Texas at Austin, and he has been UNESCO Visiting Professor of Communication at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. He is on the International Council of the International Association for Media and Communication Research.

    Stacy L. Smith is an Assistant Professor in Media Entertainment at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. She received her Ph.D. in communication with an emphasis on human development in 1999 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before joining USC, she was a faculty member in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University. Her area of expertise is in children's cognitive and affective reactions to entertainment violence, with an emphasis on the news. She is a coauthor of three book volumes of the National Television Violence Study (1997–1998) and has coauthored approximately two dozen book chapters on children's responses to the media in areas such as violence, sex, and advertising. Her work has appeared in journals such as Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Journal of Communication, Media Psychology, and Communication Research.

    Annabelle Sreberny is currently a Visiting Professor of Global Media and Communication Studies in the new Media and Film Studies Programme at SOAS, University of London. She was educated at Cambridge and Columbia, has held academic posts in Iran and the United States, and was Director of the Centre for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leicester from 1992 to 1999. Major book titles include Rethinking International News for the New Millennium (with C. Paterson, 2004); Gender, Politics and Communication (2000); Media in a Global Context (1997); Globalization, Communication and Transnational Civil Society (1996); Questioning the Media (1995); and Small Media, Big Revolution: Communications and Culture in the Iranian Revolution (1985). She is at work on a book on media and globalization.

    Randall S. Sumpter is an Associate Professor of Communication and Coordinator of journalism education at Texas A&M University, College Station. His research concentration is media history, particularly the development of news work routines, and media sociology. His research has been published in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, American Journalist, Communication Law & Policy, Journalism History, Newspaper Research Journal, and Critical Studies in Mass Communication. He teaches media history, editing for the mass media, and a graduate-level research methods course. After a 16-year career as a reporter and editor, he earned his M.A. in mass communication from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin.

    Jan A. G. M. van Dijk is full Professor of Communication Science at the University of Twente, the Netherlands, Department of Communication. His teaching chair is called The Sociology of the Information Society. He has been investigating the social aspects of information and communication technology since 1984. His research specializes in social, cultural, and political/policy issues. Key publications in English are The Network Society (1999), translated and published in several other languages; Digital Democracy (2000), coedited with Ken Hacker; and The Deepening Divide: Inequality in the Information Society (forthcoming).

    Silvio Waisbord is Senior Program Officer at the Academy for Educational Development in Washington, D.C. His current interests are communication, health, and development. He was Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. He is the author of Watchdog Journalism in South America and coeditor of Latin Politics, Global Media.

    Janet Wasko (Ph.D., University of Illinois) is a Knight Professor of Communication Research in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. She has authored several works, including Movies & Money: Financing the American Film Industry (1982), Hollywood in the Information Age (1995); Understanding Disney: The Manufacture of Fantasy (2001); and How Hollywood Works (2003). She has been coeditor of other volumes on issues in political economy of communications and democratic communications.

    D. Charles Whitney is a Professor of Sociology and of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. He had been a professor at the University of Texas, Austin, in the School of Journalism since 1993, where he also held an appointment as Professor of Radio-TV-Film. His Ph.D. is in mass communication from the University of Minnesota, and his research specialties are in the sociology of mass media communicators and in political communication and public opinion. He is coauthor or editor of five books: MediaMaking: The Mass Media in a Popular Culture (1998; 2nd ed., 2004), AudienceMaking: How the Media Create the Audience (1994), Mass Communication Review Yearbook (Vol. 3, 1982) and (Vol. 4, 1983), and Individuals in Mass Media Organizations: Creativity andConstraint (1982). He is the author of more than 75 book chapters, journal articles, reports, and papers.

    Ruth Wodak is a Professor of Applied Linguistics and Discourse Analysis at the University of Vienna. Besides various other prizes, she was awarded the Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers in 1996 and is head of the Wittgenstein Research Centre's “Discourse, Politics, Identity.” Her current research projects include, amongst others, “The Discursive Construction of History,” “Communication in Institutions” (research on EU organizations), “Research on European Identities,” and “Political Language, Political Discourses.” Her research interests focus on discourse analysis, gender studies, language and politics, prejudice, and discrimination. She is a member of the editorial board of a range of linguistic journals and coeditor of the journals Discourse and Society and Language and Politics. She has held visiting professorships at Uppsala, Stanford University, University Minnesota, and Georgetown University.

    Nabeel Zuberi is a Senior Lecturer in Film, Television and Media Studies at the University of Auckland. He is the author of Sounds English: Transnational Popular Music (2001) and coeditor (with Luke Goode) of Media Studies in Aotearoa/New Zealand (2004), and he has published other articles and book chapters. He is currently working on a book about the impact of digital technologies on popular music studies. His other research interests include a project on South Asian diaspora media and popular culture. He is a member of the editorial board for the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Alternative Media and Communication.

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