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Media events and a chimera of resistance: a study of Dissent!’s spectacular action at the 2005 G8 Summit

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The Mediapolis is not only the “privileged space of politics” but also a site of social struggle. The transformative impact of media on the political arena has moved performance and political spectacle to the centre of contemporary politics contributing to the rise of political media events. Arguably, political media events represent the apex of such activity and have become key sites of social struggle for and about power. While academic attention towards such media events has tended to focus on the attributes or framing of such events, they are site of conflict and as such, the actions and interactions that take place at such sites “inside the media frame” must also be studied. The focus of this paper will be on a specific political media event, the 2005 G8 Gleneagles Summit and within this, the practices of a specific protest network: Dissent!. Drawing on a year of participant observation and the qualitative analysis of 30 interviews, this paper employs a mediation approach to study the media practices of the Dissent! network at the 2005 G8 Summit. Despite being rooted in a history of direct-action, it is argued that Dissent!’s protest activities were a form of spectacular action – action designed not to achieve it’s stated end but to only give the appearance of doing so; a chimera of resistance embedded in, as opposed to separate from the media. Paper prepared for the Fifth Anniversary Conference of the Department of Media and Communications, ‘Media, Communication & Humanity’, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, 21-23 September 2008.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/21446/

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