1. bookVolume 2 (2015): Issue 1 (October 2015)
    Mediatized Cultural Activism
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2246-3755
First Published
01 Nov 2014
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Counterpublics in the age of mediatisation: Local responses to Femen in the Arab world

Published Online: 30 Mar 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 2 (2015) - Issue 1 (October 2015) - Mediatized Cultural Activism
Page range: 117 - 131
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2246-3755
First Published
01 Nov 2014
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

In this paper we analyse the impact of the mediatised strategy of the global protest group Femen. In addition to the concept of mediatisation, we employ the concept of counterpublics and find that Femen have limited impact in the Arab world due to a lack of embedment in local communities. We show how mediatisation of protest can hamper the dual function of counterpublic discourse and action. By focusing primarily outwardly and adopting dominant media logics (outwardly focused, interpublic discourse), Femen’s protest strategies result in a sensational and top-down message. This is not embedded in a conversation with local communities (the inwardly focused intrapublic function of counterpublic discourse) and as such results in much resistance in the Arab world. Moving beyond an analysis of Femen’s message to include local Arab responses, our analysis allows us insight into the lived experiences of mediatised protest, which suggest that Femen’s antagonistic actions foster alienation rather than empowerment.

Keywords

Ackerman, G. (2013). Femen. Paris: Calmann- Lévy. Search in Google Scholar

Asen, R. (2000). Seeking the “counter” in counterpublics. Communication Theory, 10(4), 424-446.10.1111/j.1468-2885.2000.tb00201.x Search in Google Scholar

Block, E. (2013). A Culturalist Approach to the Concept of the Mediatization of Politics: The Age of “Media Hegemony.” Communication Theory, 23(3), 259-278.10.1111/comt.12016 Search in Google Scholar

Chandler, D. (1997). An Introduction to Genre Theory. Retrieved from http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/intgenre/chandler_genre_theory.pdf Search in Google Scholar

Couldry, N. (2008). Mediatization or mediation? Alternative understandings of the emergent space of digital storytelling. New Media & Society, 10(3), 373-391.10.1177/1461444808089414 Search in Google Scholar

Couldry, N. (2010). Why voice matters: Culture and politics after neoliberalism. London: Sage. Search in Google Scholar

Couldry, N., and Hepp, A. (2013). Conceptualizing Mediatization: Contexts, Traditions, Arguments. Communication Theory, 23(3), 191-202. doi:10.1111/comt.1201910.1111/comt.12019 Search in Google Scholar

Fraser, N. (1992). Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy. In C. Calhoun (Ed.), Habermas and the public sphere (pp. 109-142). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Search in Google Scholar

Fuser, M. (2013). FEMEN: The Unveiling of Colonialist Feminism. Re. Framing Activism Blog, April 15. http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/activistmedia/2013/04/femen-the-unveiling-of-colonialist-feminism-2/ (last accessed March 2015) Search in Google Scholar

Harrebye, S. (2013). The ambivalence of creative activism as a reorganization of critique. Culture and Organization, (December 2014), 1-21. doi:10.1080/14759551.2013.81351210.1080/14759551.2013.813512 Search in Google Scholar

Hepp, A. (2010). Researching “mediatised worlds”: Non-mediacentric media and communication research as a challenge. In N. Carpentier, I.T. Trivundža, P. Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, E. Sundin, T. Olsson, R. Kilborn, H. Nieminen & B. Cammaerts (Eds.), Media and Communication Studies Interventions and Intersections (pp. 37-48). Tartu, Estonia: Tartu University Press. Search in Google Scholar

Hepp, A. (2012). Cultures of Mediatization. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Search in Google Scholar

Hjarvard, S. (2008). The Mediatization of Society. A Theory of the Media as Agents of Social and Cultural Change. Nordicom Review, 29(2), 105-134.10.1515/nor-2017-0181 Search in Google Scholar

Lievrouw, L. (2011). Alternative and Activist New Media. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Search in Google Scholar

Mazzoleni, G., and Schulz, W. (2010). “Mediatization” of Politics: A Challenge for Democracy? Political Communication, 16(3), 247-261. Search in Google Scholar

Petrenko, M. (2014). Femen: Simulation of Protest. MikMikPictures. https://mikmikpictures.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/femen-simulation-of-protest/ (accessed February 2015). Search in Google Scholar

Reestorff, C.M. (2014). Mediatised affective activism: The activist imaginary and the topless body in the Femen movement. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 20(4), 478-495.10.1177/1354856514541358 Search in Google Scholar

Strömbäck, J. (2008). Four Phases of Mediatization: An Analysis of the Mediatization of Politics. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 13(3), 228-246. doi:10.1177/194016120831909710.1177/1940161208319097 Search in Google Scholar

Strömbäck, J. (2011). Mediatization and perceptions of the media’s political influence. Journalism Studies, 12(4), 423-439.10.1080/1461670X.2010.523583 Search in Google Scholar

Warner, M. (2002). Publics and counterpublics. Public Culture, 14(1), 49-90.10.1215/08992363-14-1-49 Search in Google Scholar

Witschge, T. (2014). Passive accomplice or active disruptor: The role of audiences in the mediatisation of politics. Journalism Practice, 8(3), 342-356.10.1080/17512786.2014.889455 Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo