Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781783607365 Published October 2016 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781783607372 Published October 2016 For sale in North and South America only

Crisis and Critique

A History of Media Participation in Times of Crisis

Anne Kaun

Crisis and Critique

Anne Kaun

Distributed for Zed Books

241 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2016
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781783607365 Published October 2016 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781783607372 Published October 2016 For sale in North and South America only
Innovations in media inevitably have a profound impact on methods and forms of protest. Drawing on the work of key theorists such as Walter Benjamin and Raymond Williams, Crisis and Critique looks specifically at changes in media practices within the context of major historic economic crises. Anne Kaun uses richly detailed case studies from three different economic crises—the unemployed workers’ movement during the Great Depression, the rent strike movement of the early 1970s, and the Occupy Wall Street protests following the recession of 2008—in order to provide an in-depth analysis of the cultural, economic, and social consequences of media technologies and their role in shaping resistance to capitalism.
At a time when scholars and commentators are increasingly recognizing the immense impact of media and communications technology on society, Kaun provides a necessary historical contextualization of this crucial dynamic, while offering the first book to explicitly examine the relationship between media studies and economic activism.

Introduction. Protest and the media
Economic crises and protest movements
Protest times
Protest spaces
Protest speeds
Protest technologies

1. Crisis and critique
Crisis: capitalism in a permanent state of exception?
Critique: filling the void?
Protest movements’ media practices
An archaeological approach to media practices
Archiving critique: archiving protest movements?
Overview materials
Conclusion: critical junctures as histories of media participation

2. Protest times: the temporality of protest media practices
Mechanical speed: unemployed workers’ movements
Perpetual flow: tenants’ movement
Perpetual flow of the 1970s television
Digital immediacy: the Occupy Wall Street movement
Conclusion: digital immediacy in the age of social media

3. Protest spaces: the production of space in events of contention
The National Hunger March of 1931
Housing Crimes Trial, 6 December 1970
The OWS March on Brooklyn Bridge, 1 October 2011
From space bias to hyper-space bias

4. Protest speeds: resynchronizing fast capitalism
The speed of fast capitalism
Protest movements’ re-synchronization: adaptation, abstention, attack and alternatives
Conclusion: the speed of Quadruple A

Conclusion. Protest technologies: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will
Historical trajectories: media regimes of time and space
Notes on technological determinism
Futures of protest media

Collections and materials

Review Quotes
Journal of Media and Communication
“Kaun’s book proficiently shows the changes of media practices and technologies within protest movements . . . recommend the book to everybody interested in new perspectives on media and social activism.”
“An excellent and timely critical contribution.”
José van Dijck, author of The Culture of Connectivity
“Finally, a historically nuanced book on the role of media in protest movements. Kaun provides a very timely comparative analysis of media technologies in times of crisis. I recommend this book to all students interested in media and social activism.”
Max Haiven, coauthor of The Radical Imagination
“Kaun gives us important resources for thinking through the challenges we face today as scholars and activists committed to transformative and radical communication. Her historical and analytic clarity help us separate the hype from the reality when it comes to the connections between activism, social media and our rapidly evolving digital era.”
Nick Couldry, London School of Economics and Political Science
“Do crises contain within them the seeds of effective critique? Kaun's smart and timely book confronts this question, avoiding the naive mediacentrism of most commentary. At last a book that cares about how political critique can be sustained for the long-term, and the importance of comparative history in finding credible answers.”
Joss Hands, Newcastle University
“Kaun offers some much needed perspective on the current discourses surrounding digital media and activism, as well as a nuanced, valuable, and, perhaps most importantly, measured evaluation of the importance of media to political resistance.”
Paolo Gerbaudo, author of Tweets and the Streets: Social media and Contemporary Activism
“Economic crises such as the Great Recession of 2008 are not just moments of distress and despair. They are also occasions in which new political alternatives are born and new political media practices emerge as Anne Kaun demonstrates in this thoughtful and engaging book.”
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