Voices of Dissent: Activists’ Engagements in the Creation of Alternative, Autonomous, Radical and Independent Media
Cox, Laurence and Mattoni, Alice and Berdnikovs, Andrejs and Ardizzoni, Michela (2010) Voices of Dissent: Activists’ Engagements in the Creation of Alternative, Autonomous, Radical and Independent Media. Interface: a journal for and about social movements, 2 (2). pp. 1-22.
In her seminal work on citizens’ media in Latin America, Clemencia Rodriguez points out the pivotal role that alternative media practices have in empowering citizens to develop new understandings and images of themselves outside the corporate space of mediation created by mainstream media channels and outlets. The expression “citizen media”, however, is only one of the many labels employed to speak about alternative media at large. For many years a marginal field of investigation, in recent decades many monographs, special journal issues and edited volumes have been devoted to alternative media. The emancipation of this subject, which is today considered a respectable academic topic across many disciplines, has gone hand in hand with the flourishing of terms and expressions related to those media messages, outlets and channels which are created and diffused outside commercial informational circuits (Atton 2007). In the academic literature, various labels are used to name the grassroots creation of channels and/or contents outside commercial media and/or opposing the dominant system of meanings. These range from “radical media” (Downing 2001) to “citizens media” (Rodriguez 2001) and from “critical media” (Fuchs 2010) to “social movement media” (Atton 2003). Hadl (2007) has addressed the epistemological reasons for such diversity and richness in the academic field. Each expression, obviously, has different connotations and implies a different explanation of the main qualities characterizing alternative media. Without dismissing these important differences and the theoretical debates revolving around them, here we employ the broad and encompassing label “alternative media”, which signals the existence of media that are alternative to corporate media in terms both of their production and their diffusion processes (Atton 2002).
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