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.

A Hexagon by Way of a Conclusion
A hexagon by way of a conclusion

Squashing all the media experience and energy reviewed up to this point into a tight scientific format of proven conclusions would do great and unjust violence to the open-ended and often coruscating scenarios we have witnessed. Closing down open spaces and putting clamps on the imagination is precisely what these radical media have fought.

What I propose to do instead is to draw out a few recurring themes and chew on the succulent things gently for a moment more.

They form a hexagon of sorts: artistic flair and punch, memory levels, pragmatic realities, social movements, time frame, the power structure. Let us look at them one by one while trying to hold onto the ...

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