Ten principles of the political economy of social movement media

Ten principles to start an analysis of the political economy of social movement media, by John D. H. Downing (May 12, 2012), from his UDC plenary address after receiving the Dallas Smythe Award.




  1. What is the glocal, political, and economic conjunctive generating the social movement in question?
  2. What are the movement’s objectives and scale?
  3. What is the movement’s time span and cyclical phase?
  4. What is the shifting weight of different wings and factions within the movement?
  5. What is the strength and flexibility of communication flows between base and leadership.
  6. Which media formats are accessible to which media activists?
  7. What is the quality of archived and accumulated democratic media practice experience? Organizationally? Aesthetically?
  8. What is the efficiency of the state’s surveillance and enforcement over movement communications?
  9. What degree of normal credibility do mainstream entertainment and news media enjoy? How porous are they?
  10. Is the movement operating during a moment of significant hegemonic disintegration (a crucial breech)?

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