Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


25 April 2018

Benjamin Ferron - The asymmetric internationalization of “media-activism”. A comparison between three networks (Mexico/Israel-Palestine/France)

Presented By Benjamin Ferron, University Paris-Est Créteil
  • 1:00-2:00 pm CRCC Seminar Series
  • U1.22 Brockington Building

About this event

Based on three empirical fieldworks realized between 2004 and 2017 on the communication strategies of “Global Justice” movements, this paper aims at understanding the mechanisms which underpin the social and geographic polarization of many transnational networks of "media-activists" between a privileged minority of rooted cosmopolitans and a majority rooted on local or national bases. It analyzes the opportunities and strains the former find in “internationalizing” their cause in times of neoliberal globalization. We focus on the “asymmetric internationalization” of three media-activists groups. The first one is the pro-Zapatista “Free Media” movement in Mexico, its relationships with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, and support groups in North America and Europe. The second one is the anti-occupation media network in Israel and its relationships both with its Palestinian and international components. The third one is the French Permanent Coordination of Free Media, and more specifically the relationships between activists from the Province and Paris, and with transnational networks of media-activists. Our thesis is twofold. On the one hand, media-activists localized in the centers of the world-economy and endowed in economic, social and cultural capital have more opportunities than others to mobilize through and for “alternative” media and gain material and symbolic benefits from these investments. On the other hand, the benefits they can gain from this activism, especially what we’ll call “international capital”, are very unequally distributed among media-activists. They strongly depend on their national and social resources.

Biography : Benjamin Ferron is Lecturer at, and Head of, the Department of Political and Public Communication in East-Paris University and manager of the "Media Sociology" network at the French Association of Sociology. He teaches Political Sociology of Public Action, Sociology of Journalism and the Media, Sociology of Social Movements. At the crossroad of Field Theory and Sociology of Public Problems, his researches focus on the media strategies of activist networks : their struggles over penetrating and framing the journalistic coverage of protest events ; their attempt to create their own alternative channels of information and communication. Based on empirical case studies in Mexico, Israel-Palestine and France, these researches aim at understanding the structural influence of information media on political activism (media-centered political activism), especially when the media become a central element of their repertoire of contention and of their political claims (media-rooted political activism).