Conceptualising a distributed, multi-scalar global public sphere through activist communication practices in the World Social Forum

Stephansen, H. 2019. Conceptualising a distributed, multi-scalar global public sphere through activist communication practices in the World Social Forum. Global Media and Communication.

TitleConceptualising a distributed, multi-scalar global public sphere through activist communication practices in the World Social Forum
TypeJournal article
AuthorsStephansen, H.
Abstract

The term ‘global public sphere’ has often been used to describe global-scale spaces of discourse, yet there are several difficulties involved in ‘scaling up’ the public sphere concept. Drawing on ethnographic research on media activism in the World Social Forum, this article shows how ‘global publics’ are created by media activists through a broad range of communication practices, including efforts to create ‘place-based’ publics that connect to global struggles and the use of videoconference technology to create a sense of global connectedness among marginalised communities. The article analyses the complex politics of scale involved in these communication practices, critically interrogating the categories of ‘global’ and ‘local’. It proposes a dynamic understanding of the ‘global public sphere’ as constituted through the interlinking of diverse, multiply scaled – yet globally oriented – communication practices, and emphasises the importance of efforts to create and strengthen collective, autonomous communication spaces at multiple scales.

KeywordsGlobal public sphere, World Social Forum, social movements, media activism, place, scale
JournalGlobal Media and Communication
ISSN1742-7665
Year2019
PublisherSage
Accepted author manuscriptConceptualising the global public sphere through activist communication practices in the World Social Forum_Revised_Author accepted version.pdf

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