Alternative and Activist Media

Alternative and Activist Media

Alternative and Activist Media

Alternative and Activist Media

Excerpt

The spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation
between people that is mediated by images. The spectacle cannot
be understood as a mere visual deception produced by mass-media
technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been materialized, a
view of a world that has become objective.

Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, 1967

This book arrives at a moment when Debord's 'society of the spectacle' seems to be an inescapable construct.

Communication has become a precious, and precarious, commodity. As Robert McChesney writes, 'journalism which, in theory, should inspire political involvement tends to strip politics of meaning and promote a broad depohticization'. Writing, speaking, or acting critically can once again result in arrest, even in the 'democratic' West, without public outcry.

The act of speaking truth to power currently means confronting the full force of the marketised mass media, the corporate public relations process, and crushing apathy among those for whom the spectacle of modern life has been confused with its reality from their earliest moments spent gazing into the depths of the glowing box that dominates family life.

In these conditions, no one should be surprised that most media studies texts concentrate on the mass media: the popular information and entertainment products of corporations through which our mediated culture itself is produced, consumed and recycled. These media products are ubiquitous, and as the concentration of media ownership increases, even fewer voices can be heard within this hegemonic mainstream.

However, either despite this situation or because of it, alternative and activist media remain, opening up cracks in the mass-media monolith through which strange flowers grow. The mass-media monopoly has also . . .

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