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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 27, 2019

Sensitizing the concept of mediatization for the study of social movements

  • Mojca Pajnik EMAIL logo , Marko Ribać and Peter Sekloča
From the journal Communications


We suggest the “sensitizing concept of mediatization” as an analytical tool to analyze public communication of social movements in times of social, economic and political crisis, and we apply the tool to explore the case of the Slovenian uprisings of 2012–13. First, theoretically, we couple Tilly’s understanding of social movements’ practices with Hjarvard’s distinction between “direct” and “indirect” forms of mediatization. Second, in the empirical part, we categorize and classify movement organizations, activist initiatives and political groups into two distinct groups and observe how they respond to the media logic of newsworthiness and the political logic of office-seeking during the contentious actions of mass mobilization. We observe asymmetrical responses to processes of mediatization, which vary according to organizational structure, practices and movements’ vision of social transformation. The article shows how different protest groups respond to the three media logic techniques: a) personalization of political actors, b) decontextualization and simplification of transformative potential that are inherent to protest cycles, and how the two mobilized groups interact with the journalistic focus on c) spectacle and images of violence. We argue that the more the specific movement/group expresses criticism over the interplay of the media and the political logic, marked by the three discursive modes mentioned, the less it adopts the dominant media logic and the more it seeks for alternative and innovative media action.


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Published Online: 2019-09-27
Published in Print: 2020-11-18

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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