Media ecologies and protest movements: main perspectives and key lessons
Emiliano Treré, Alice Mattoni | 2016 | article in Information, Communication & Society
Studies adopting the media ecology metaphor to investigate social movements form a promising strand of literature that has emerged in the last years to overcome the communicative reductionism permeating the study of the relation between social movements and communication technologies. However, contributions that apply ecological visions to protest are scattered, and only seldom connect their analyses to more general media ecological frameworks.
The article critically reviews and classifies the diverse strands of scholarship that adopt the ecological metaphor in their exploration of activism, and connects them with the more general literature on media and communication ecologies. Moreover, it extracts the constitutive elements of this literature that can help scholars to better address the complexity of communication within social movements, and it articulates four key lessons that a media ecology lens brings to the understanding of media and protest. Finally, the article further demonstrates the strengths of this approach through an illustration of the preliminary findings of an ongoing investigation on the 15M movement in Spain.