This is an entirely new edition of the author’s 1984 study (originally published by South End Press) of radical media and movements. The first and second sections are original to this new edition. The first section explores social and cultural theory in order to argue that radical media should be a central part of our understanding of media in history. The second section weaves an historical and international tapestry of radical media to illustrate their centrality and diversity, from dance and graffiti to video and the internet and from satirical prints and street theatre to culture-jamming, subversive song, performance art and underground radio. The section also includes consideration of ultra-rightist media as a key contrast case. The book’s third section provides detailed case studies of the anti-fascist media explosion of 1974-75 in Portugal, Italy’s long-running radical media, radio and access video in the USA, and illegal media in the dissolution of the former Soviet bloc dictatorships.

Popular Culture, Audiences, and Radical Media

Popular Culture, Audiences, and Radical Media
Popular culture, audiences, and radical media

The argument will be as follows:

  • Popular culture is intertwined in many ways with mass culture.
  • We should more accurately speak of popular cultures in the plural.
  • These are not automatically oppositional or constructive.
  • Oppositional cultures also intertwine with both mass and popular cultures.
  • Audiences/readers may be defined
    • as (sometimes resistant) commercial targets;
    • as the necessary “reality-check” on supposed media impact;
    • as joint architects of cultural production, this being the primary sense used in this book.
  • Radical alternative media constitute the most active form of the active audience and express oppositional strands, overt and covert, within popular cultures.

These are fundamental issues, inasmuch as these various radical alternative media forms are, almost self-evidently, forms of popular and oppositional cultural expression. Indeed, as we ...

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