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Protest in action: An examination of the production, media representation and reflexivity of protest group communications strategies and protest tactics

Cable, Jonathan 2012. Protest in action: An examination of the production, media representation and reflexivity of protest group communications strategies and protest tactics. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis analyses the media coverage and dominant institution responses to the media and protest tactics employed by three different protest groups. The three case studies examine the interactions between protest groups, their political targets, and the mainstream media. It pays particular attention to each group's media and protest tactics, and how their messages transition from protest action into media coverage and political debates. The three different protest groups comprise of a Cardiff community campaign to save a pub called Save the Vulcan, the environmental direct action group Plane Stupid and their protests against airport expansion, and the mass protests of G20Meltdown against the G20 summit held in London in April 2009. This thesis analyses the media coverage of each group using the concept of political opportunity structures to ascertain the influence of the political and media context on protest groups and their actions. Interviews with activists involved in all three protest groups, and ethnography conducted from within one of the groups, namely, the Save the Vulcan campaign revealed differing attitudes towards the choice of media and protest tactics. All three groups were aware of their portrayal in media coverage, and actively geared their tactics towards attracting media attention. The research analysed protester communications on the internet and leaflets to explore how they represented their issues. A content analysis of British newspaper articles examined the impact of each group's media and protest tactics on press coverage. Offical documents from the dominant institutions of the police and centralised political institutions were examined to ascertain the debates surrounding the issues. On the basis of these empirical findings and discussion this thesis argues for a revision of the theorisation of political opportunity structures. This grants increased recognition of media coverage and importance of protest group aims and goals in the assessment of their success and failure to communicate their messages. Finally, the thesis argues that political and media opportunities do influence the success and failure of protest groups, but it is the effective use of media and protect tactics that puts protest groups into a position to succeed or fail.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2020 02:31

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