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Tools of Emancipation? Media Glare, Online Social Networks, and Discursive Choice in the Chilean Student Movement

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Abstract:

Massive street protests calling for reform in Chile’s education system captured global attention and a 75% national approval rating in 2011. In the past year-and-a-half, college and high school students in the country considered South America’s free-market laboratory have taken center-stage for the economic, political and educational legacies of the 17-year dictatorship that ended in 1990. Some have become international media stars and others organize politicized “flash mobs” via Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Chilean Student leaders, activists, and “citizen” journalists have constructed unique responses (online and off) to what Todd Gitlin (1980) labeled the “media glare,” providing the basis for a renewed discussion about the relationship between social movements and media.

This study is based on a combination of social media and news analysis, in-depth interviews with movement participants, spokespeople, mainstream and alternative journalists, and observations at meetings, assemblies and protests. It explores the media ideologies (Gershon, 2010) and notions of counterpublics (Fraser, 1990) that inform how Chilean students use online social networks to engage with mainstream journalists, respond to media coverage they do not find favorable, and help foster alternative discursive spaces about issues they find get ignored. Youth activists in Chile have developed multi-faceted strategies to balance savvy engagement and principled avoidance of traditional media conglomerates that dominate the landscape. This study demonstrates how student movement leaders operate in constant dialogue with the organized grassroots student base, other civil society organizations, and increasingly sophisticated media teams to navigate different publics, construct their own discursive spaces and successfully open space for discussions about constitutional reform, participatory democracy, and the critique of economic neoliberalism. Implications for thinking about the relationship between mainstream press and anti-hierarchical movements (Bernadette-Peters, 2012) and the emerging opportunities for movements to construct “counter-power” via new media networks (Castells, 2007, 2009) are also considered.
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association
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http://www.icahdq.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p639829_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Foote, Jackson. "Tools of Emancipation? Media Glare, Online Social Networks, and Discursive Choice in the Chilean Student Movement" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Hilton Metropole Hotel, London, England, <Not Available>. 2018-09-05 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p639829_index.html>

APA Citation:

Foote, J. B. "Tools of Emancipation? Media Glare, Online Social Networks, and Discursive Choice in the Chilean Student Movement" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Hilton Metropole Hotel, London, England <Not Available>. 2018-09-05 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p639829_index.html

Publication Type: Session Paper
Abstract: Massive street protests calling for reform in Chile’s education system captured global attention and a 75% national approval rating in 2011. In the past year-and-a-half, college and high school students in the country considered South America’s free-market laboratory have taken center-stage for the economic, political and educational legacies of the 17-year dictatorship that ended in 1990. Some have become international media stars and others organize politicized “flash mobs” via Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Chilean Student leaders, activists, and “citizen” journalists have constructed unique responses (online and off) to what Todd Gitlin (1980) labeled the “media glare,” providing the basis for a renewed discussion about the relationship between social movements and media.

This study is based on a combination of social media and news analysis, in-depth interviews with movement participants, spokespeople, mainstream and alternative journalists, and observations at meetings, assemblies and protests. It explores the media ideologies (Gershon, 2010) and notions of counterpublics (Fraser, 1990) that inform how Chilean students use online social networks to engage with mainstream journalists, respond to media coverage they do not find favorable, and help foster alternative discursive spaces about issues they find get ignored. Youth activists in Chile have developed multi-faceted strategies to balance savvy engagement and principled avoidance of traditional media conglomerates that dominate the landscape. This study demonstrates how student movement leaders operate in constant dialogue with the organized grassroots student base, other civil society organizations, and increasingly sophisticated media teams to navigate different publics, construct their own discursive spaces and successfully open space for discussions about constitutional reform, participatory democracy, and the critique of economic neoliberalism. Implications for thinking about the relationship between mainstream press and anti-hierarchical movements (Bernadette-Peters, 2012) and the emerging opportunities for movements to construct “counter-power” via new media networks (Castells, 2007, 2009) are also considered.


 
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