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Radical Media

Clemencia Rodríguez


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“Radical media” is a term used by communication scholars to refer to information and communication technologies used by radical media activists to bring about social change (→  Activist Media ; Social Movements and Communication ). In this sense, the word “radical” means the expression of ideas, opinions, and options to reorganize society that are not sanctioned by the established social order. British communication scholar John Downing coined the term in his volume Radical media , where he critiques the term “alternative media” as oxymoronic because “[e]verything, at some point, is alternative to something else” (1984, ix). For Downing, the designation radical media needs to be based on a careful historical examination of the medium's context, content, and consequences. Under certain cultural and political conditions, content that in other contexts would be deemed apolitical and inoffensive can yield tremendous social change when transmitted by radical media; thus, context determines the “radicalness” of the content in each case. Also, the medium's organization does not necessarily mean that the content is radical; each case has to be examined in order to establish if and to what extent the medium's content is in fact radical, depending on its potential to strengthen resistance politics and bring about social change. Radical media serve both progressive and authoritarian social ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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