Soundbitten The Perils of Media-Centered Political Activism

ISBN-10: 0814741371
ISBN-13: 9780814741375
Edition: 2011
Authors: Sarah Sobieraj
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Description: There is an elaborate and often invisible carnival that emerges alongside presidential campaigns as innumerable activist groups attempt to press their issues into mainstream political discourse. Sarah Sobieraj's fascinating ethnographic portrait of  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.00
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 6/13/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 234
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.726
Language: English

There is an elaborate and often invisible carnival that emerges alongside presidential campaigns as innumerable activist groups attempt to press their issues into mainstream political discourse. Sarah Sobieraj's fascinating ethnographic portrait of fifty diverse organizations over the course of two campaign cycles reveals that while most activist groups equate political success with media success and channel their energies accordingly, their efforts fail to generate news coverage and come with deleterious consequences. Sobieraj shows that activists' impact on public political debates is minimal, and carefully unravels the ways in which their all-consuming media work and unrelenting public relations approach undermine their ability to communicate with pedestrians, comes at the expense of other political activities, and perhaps most perniciously, damages the groups themselves.Weaving together fieldwork, news analysis, and in-depth interviews with activists and journalists, Soundbittenilluminates the relationship between news and activist organizations. This captivating portrait of activism in the United States lays bare the challenges faced by outsiders struggling to be heard in a mass media dominated public sphere that proves exclusionary and shows that media-centrism is not only ineffective, but also damaging to group life. Soundbittenreveals why media-centered activism so often fails, what activist groups lose in the process, and why we should all be concerned.

Sarah Sobieraj is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Tufts University.

Acknowledgments
What If the Whole World Isn't Watching? Activism, Presidential Campaigns, and the Thorny Struggle for Visibility
Campaign Events as Catalysts: The Politicization of Public Space
Streets as Stage: The Many Faces of Publicity
“Apparently They Don't Like Succinct and Articulate”: Journalists, Activists, and the Battle over News
Wait, Isn't That a Bird in Your Hand? Pushing Bystanders out of the Way in an Effort to Reach “the Public”
What About Us? Bittersweet Residues of Mobilization
Epilogue: Web 2.0 and Election 2008
Appendix: Methods
Notes
References
Index
About the Author

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