New Communications and Demonstrations: 13th July 2011, Attenborough Building, University of Leicester

Event organized by the BSA Media Study Group and Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester

The media’s images and narratives of protest and demonstration, contribute to our understanding of the relationship between public opinion, the mass media and democracy.  Past studies suggest television news reports follow the inferential frameworks (Halloran, Murdock and Elliott 1970) or dominant frames (Gitlin 1980) adopted by their news organisations, reproducing accounts which depoliticise events and even demonise their participants on occasion.  The view that reporting is always characterised in this way and, in turn, serves to reflect hegemonic interests is challenged however, in later work whose fine-grained analysis reveals various repertoires of protest and instances of sympathetic portrayals (eg. McAdam 2000).  Studies of protest, demonstration and new media technologies develop this theme further, albeit in a new context. These reveal the new online opportunities for various types of protest expression and action (Gillan et al 2008) and the use of technologies in the actual organisation and performance of protest and demonstration (Van de Donk et al 2004).  What is more, Cottle (2008) makes clear that the media politics of dissent cannot be fully understood without grasping the changing context of international politics and the general profusion of protest groups, campaigns, movements and transnational coalitions as well as evolving forms of protests and the different types of representations that find expression across local, national and global media forms and complex communication flows. 

Call for papers

This event welcomes papers from ongoing research, already published studies or theoretical discussion on communication, protest and demonstrations. Suggestions include, but are not limited to:

• Media frames, representations and the mediation of competing issues and viewpoints on protest and demonstration.
• Journalists, news culture and the production of protest news reports.
• News photographs and visualization of protest and demonstration.
• Established and alternative news outlets and the reporting of protest.
• Youtube videos, bloggs and protest action
• Tweating dissent? The role of twitter before/ during / after protest events.
• Active audiences, media reception and protest news.
• Websites, mobile phones and the organisation of protest and demonstration.

Please send 250 word abstracts for 20 minute papers to Julian Matthews (

Deadline for abstract submission is May 1st, 2011.

For more details about the BSA Media Study Group please visit :
Venue details can be found at:

Organiser: Dr Julian Matthews, Convenor BSA Media Study Group.  Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester.

Dr Julian Matthews
Course Director, MSc Media and Communication Research
Department of Media and Communication
Room 913
Attenborough Tower
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH
T: +44(0)116 2522582
F: +44(0)116 2525276