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.

Social Movements, the Public Sphere, Networks
Social movements, the public sphere, networks

The argument in this segment will be as follows:

  • Social movements represent one of the most dynamic expressions of resistance, as contrasted with more stable and enduring institutions such as unions or parties.1
  • Their importance for understanding radical media and oppositional cultures is enormous.
  • Movement upsurges appear both to generate and to be stimulated by radical media.2 Conversely, at times when such movements are at a low ebb, the flood of alternative media also subsides.
  • However, this is not the end of the matter. Properly understood, the relation between movements and radical media is not one of base and superstructure but one of dialectical and indeed acute interdependence.
  • The second related question is triangular: the connections between social movements, ...
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