Dangerous practices: 'Determinism of technique' in alternative media and their literature
Abstract:This article critiques largely unexamined assumptions within activist and academic theory and practice of alternative media. It is argued that there is a tendency within this field to practice what might be called 'determinism of technique' where certain strategies and tactics are assumed to result in emancipatory outcomes. The essay first examines the 'politics of truth', the assumption that wider access to marginalized or excluded content, or innovative styles and formats, will activate alternative media audiences for democratic political struggle. Next the article discusses the 'politics of participation'. The assumption here is that participatory forms of alternative media production and organization are necessarily tied to democratic politics. Finally, the later work of Foucault is adapted to suggest that, because particular strategies and tactics are always contingently articulated to specific relations of power, more caution should be exercised regarding the power effects these modes of political struggle will have.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2011-03-01
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