Moving and Jamming Implications for Social Movement Theory
Abstract: The present compiled dissertation explores culture jamming as a social movement in late capitalist information society. Culture jamming embraces groups and individuals practicing symbolic protest against the expansion and domination of large corporations and the logic of the market into public and private life. The central aim is to understand the meaning of culture jamming; its “model” of collective identification, and its protest and mobilizing strategies. International social movement research mostly focuses upon well established movements that are traditionally organized and directed against conventional political institutions. Studying culture jamming as a social movement therefore entails implications for social movement theory and research. For instance, concepts must be adjusted to cover emerging “individualized” forms of collective action and the effects of cyberspace on collective identification. Furthermore, attention is directed to emotions in culture jamming. It is thereby also argued that social movement research generally may have a lot to gain from incorporating emotion theory.Data consists of texts and visuals from the organization Adbusters Media Foundation, and seven interviews with culture jammers. The groups represented in the interviews are Institute for Applied Autonomy, Reverend Billy’s Church of Stop Shopping, New York Surveillance Camera Players, Bureau of Inverse Technology, Rtmark, and the French Casseurs de Pub. The method of analysis is “abductive” qualitative text analysis inspired by hermeneutic qualitative analysis and the epistemological and ontological foundations of discourse theory and post-structuralism.Analysis is carried out in five separate studies presented in text I-IV (previously published) and in chapter eight. Text I maps the Adbusters Media Foundation (AMF) along the lines of narrative, organization, ends, means, and strategy. Text II offers an analysis of the various nodal points in the AMF discourse and discusses the tensions inherent to the AMF effort to “hegemonize” the meaning of culture jamming. Text III offers an analysis of culture jamming as political activism from the thematic perspective of culture, place and identity, based on four of the interviews. In text IV the AMF visuals are analyzed from the perspective of emotions and social movement mobilization. Chapter eight brings together the seven interviews and the AMF material into an analysis of emotions in culture jamming.
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