From Media to Mediality: Mediatic (Counter-)Apparatuses and the Concept of the Political in Communication Studies

  • Oliver Marchart


For every student of social protest it should be evident that there is a politics of the media which is not entirely absorbed in media politics (or media policy). Social movements tend to integrate a huge variety of mediatic practices in their actions, practices that do not necessarily aim at simply “getting into the media” (that is, the “mass media”). These alternative media, or radical media (Downing, 2001), serve vital functions in the construction of a movement’s identity and self-image. By providing a movement with internal communication structures, they contribute to the constitution and stabilization of an alternative public sphere largely autonomous from the public sphere of the mass media. At the same time, the very practices involved in the production of alternative media (from the editing of a website to the handicraft work necessary in the preparation of street protest) contribute to the subjectivation of the participants as subjects of protest and, hence, to the stabilization of the protest movement’s identity. If this is the case, though, a series of conceptual clarifications will be in order as both communication sciences and social movement studies, being mainly focused on the mass media and based on pretty outdated communication models, will not provide us with theoretical tools that would contribute to an in-depth understanding of the role and function of protest media.2


Social Movement Public Sphere Discourse Theory Counter Medium Ontological Difference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Althusser, L. (1972). Lenin and philosophy and other essays. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, D. (1991). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  3. Butler, J. (1997). The psychic life of power: Theories in subjection. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Carey, J. (1992). Communication as culture: Essays on media and society. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Downing, J. (2001). Radical Media: Rebellious communication and social movements. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Hall, S. (1977). Culture, the media and the “ideological effect.” In J. Curran, M. Gurevitch & J. Wollacott (Eds.), Mass communication and society (pp. 315–348). London: Open University/Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  7. Hall, S. (1980). Recent developments in theories of language and ideology: A critical note. In S. Hall (Ed.), Culture, media, language (pp. 157–62). London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  8. Hall, S. (1982). The rediscovery of “ideology”: Return of the repressed in media studies. In M. Gurevitch, T. Bennett, J. Curran & J. Wollacott (Eds.), Culture, society, and media (pp. 56–90). London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  9. Howarth, D., Norvall, A. & Stavrakakis, J. (Eds.) (2000). Discourse theory and political analysis: Identities, hegemonies, and social change. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Laclau, E. (1990). New reflections on the revolution of our times. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  11. Laclau, E. (2004) Glimpsing the future (pp. 279–328). In S. Critchley & O. Marchart (Eds.), Laclau: A critical reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Laclau, E. & Mouffe, C. (1985). Hegemony and socialist strategy. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  13. Marchart, O. (2003a). Media darkness. Reflections on public space, light, and conflict. In T. Goryucheva & E. Kluitenberg (Eds.), Media/Art/Public Domain (pp. 83–97). Amsterdam: De Balie.Google Scholar
  14. Marchart, O. (2003b). Bridging the micro-macro-gap. Is there such a thing as post-subcultural politics? In D. Muggleton & R. Weinzierl (Eds.), The post-subcultures reader (pp. 83–97). New York: Berg.Google Scholar
  15. Marchart, O. (2004). Politics and the ontological difference: On the “strictly philosophical” in Laclau’s work. In S. Critchley & O. Marchart (Eds.), Laclau: A critical reader (pp. 54–72). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Marchart, O. (2007). Post-foundational political thought: Political difference in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou, and Laclau. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Marchart, O., Adolphs, S. & Hamm, M. (2007). Taktik und taktung. Eine diskursanalyse politischer online-demonstrationen. In M. Ries, H. Fraueneder & K. Mairitsch (Eds.), Dating. 21 — liebesorganisation und Verabredungskulturen (pp. 207–224). Bielefeld: Transcript.Google Scholar
  18. Marchart, O., Adolphs, S. & Hamm, M. (2010). Bewegungspraxis und “organische theorie”: Zur rezepetion und produktion theorieförmiger diskurse durch soziale Bewegungen am Beispil der Prekarisierungsbewegung. In Österreichische Zeitschrift für politikwissenschaft 2010(1) (pp. 73–88).Google Scholar
  19. McGuigan, J. (1992). Cultural populism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. McQuail, D. & Windahl, S. (1993). Communication models for the study of mass communication. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  21. Morley, D. (1980). Texts, readers, subjects. In S. Hall (Ed.), Culture, media, language (pp. 163–73). London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  22. Morley, D. (1992). Television audiences and cultural studies. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  23. Mouffe, C. (2005). On the political. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Poster, M. (1997). Cyberdemocracy: The Internet and the public sphere. In D. Holmes (Ed.), Virtual politics: Identity and community in cyberspace (pp. 212–229). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Sumic-Riha, J. (2004). Anachronism of emancipation or fidelity to politics. In S. Critchley & O. Marchart (Eds.), Laclau. A critical reader (pp. 182–97). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Thornton, S. (1996). Club cultures: Music, media, and subcultural capital. Middle-town, CT: Wesleyan University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Oliver Marchart 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Marchart

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations