Citizen Media and Practice

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Citizen Media and Practice

Currents, Connections, Challenges


Edited by Hilde C. Stephansen & Emiliano Treré

2020, Routledge

Paperback: ISBN: 978-1-13-857184-6

Hardback: ISBN: 978-1-13-857182-2


Click here to download free PDF download of the Introduction

Chapter 1 | Practice what you preach? Currents, connections, and challenges in theorizing citizen media and practice
Hilde C. Stephansen & Emiliano Treré


This chapter explores the past, assesses the present, and delineates the future of a media practice approach to citizen media. The first section provides an extensive overview of the different currents in research on media practices, identifying the antecedents of the media practice approach in several theoretical traditions and highlighting possible points of convergence between them. Hence, we ground the roots of the practice approach in Latin American communication and media studies, we scrutinize Couldry’s conceptualization in connection to theories of practices within the social sciences, and we examine audience research, media anthropology, social movement studies, citizen and alternative media, and Communication for Development and Social Change. The second section takes stock of the current ‘state of the art’ of practice-focused research on citizen and activist media and develops a critical assessment of how the concept of media practices has been used in recent literature, identifying key strengths and shortcomings. In this section, we also discuss the integration of media practices with other concepts, such as mediation, mediatization, media ecologies, media archeology, media imaginaries, and the public sphere. The third section delineates future directions for research on citizen media and practice, reflecting on some of the challenges facing this growing interdisciplinary field. Here, we illustrate how the media practice approach provides a powerful framework for researching the pressing challenges posed by mediatization and datafication. Further, we highlight the need for deeper theoretical engagement, underline the necessity of dialogue between different traditions, and point out some unresolved issues and limitations. The chapter concludes with an outline of the contributions to this edited collection.

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Table of contents


Foreword Nick Couldry


Chapter 1. Practice what you preach? Currents, connections, and challenges in theorizing citizen media and practice

Hilde C. Stephansen and Emiliano Treré

[Abstract] [Free PDF download available]


Part I: Latin American communication theory – Introduction by Clemencia Rodríguez

Chapter 2 | The Latin American lo popular as a theory of communication. Ways of seeing communication practices

Omar Rincón & Amparo Marroquín



Chapter 3 | Praxis in Latin American communication thought: A critical appraisal

Alejandro Barranquero



Chapter 4 | Educommunication for social change: Contributions to the construction of a theory of activist media practices

Ángel Barbas



Part II: Activist agency and technological affordances – Introduction by Donatella Della Porta

Chapter 5 | A genealogy of communicative affordances and activist self-mediation practices

Bart Cammaerts



Chapter 6 | Time of protest: An archaeological perspective on media practices

Anne Kaun



Part III: Practice approaches to video activism – Introduction by Dorothy Kidd

Chapter 7 | Video activism as technology, text, testimony – or practices?

Tina Askanius



Chapter 8 | Activist media practices, alternative media and online digital traces. The case of YouTube in the Italian Se non ora, quando? Movement

Alice Mattoni & Elena Pavan



Part IV: Acting on media – Introduction by Andreas Hepp

Chapter 9 | Acting on media for sustainability

Sigrid Kannengießer



Chapter 10 | Conceptualizing the role of knowledge in acting on media

Hilde C. Stephansen



Part V: Citizen data practices – Introduction by Helen Kennedy

Chapter 11 | Acting on data(fication)

Stefania Milan



Chapter 12 | Understanding citizen data practices from a feminist perspective: Embodiment and the ethics of care

Aristea Fotopoulou



Chapter 13 Situating practices in datafication – from above and below

Lina Dencik



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“Thinking about and exploring media practices entail the recognition that we need another kind of gaze, other points of view, other places from which to make sense of culture and the media. Citizen Media and Practice provides a renewed understanding of media practices in connection to the people and the territories they inhabit. The book explores the ambiguities of media practices and charts the possibilities they open up to imagine another kind of world and connect to other ways of thinking about culture.”

Jesús Martín-Barbero, author of Communication, culture and hegemony: From the media to mediations (Sage, 1993) (Orig. edition: De los Medios a las Mediaciones. Comunicación, cultura y hegemonía, Gustavo Gilli, 1987)


“Citizen Media and Practice is an outstanding contribution to practice-oriented research on citizen and activist media today. Its contributions are delicately balanced for stimulating interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation based on empirical research into a great diversity of topics related to media activism and social movements in Europe and Latin America. The book offers an up-to-date, cutting-edge overview of how practice approaches are useful for grasping contemporary activism and media processes, and how materialities, digitalities, discourses, bodies, affects and emotions are embedded into political actions that aim to change the world we live in, through our makings and aspirations, doings and sayings. This book demonstrates that practice theories are alive and kicking because they are powerful tools to understand ourselves as citizens; active agents of the world we inhabit”.

Elisenda Ardèvol, Professor in Social and Cultural Anthropology at UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), Barcelona. Director of the Mediaccions Research Group in Culture and Digital Communication.


“Stephansen and Treré have brought together a very competent and interdisciplinary collective of researchers that together have delivered an inspiring book! It builds necessary bridges between Anglo-Saxon and Latin American scholarship; it retrieves relevant and almost forgotten past research, letting it inform contemporary scholarship: and it establishes connections between research into citizen media practice with relevant and emerging fields of inquiry in the social sciences. The result is a very commendable book that challenges and pushes the boundaries of not only media scholarship but of social science more broadly.”

Thomas Tufte, Professor at and Director of the Institute for Media and Creative Industries, Loughborough University London. Author of Communication and Social Change – A Citizen Perspective (Polity, 2017)


“There is a terrific immediacy to Citizen Media and Practice. Reading this book feels like sneaking into an advanced seminar with leading Latin American and anglophone scholars as they debate the latest implications of the ‘practice turn’ for the study of media, communication and social movements.

John Postill, Senior Lecturer in Communication at RMIT University, Melbourne, author of The Rise of Nerd Politics (Pluto, 2018)


“This book is a timely and necessary overview of the notion of “media as practice.” It blends insights from Latin American and Northern communication scholarship, and takes stock of the current state of the research. The chapters provide a wealth of insights to further refine the understanding of “what citizens (and social movements) do with media”. At a time of growing concerns about the rise of anti-progressive movements around the world, this book delivers hope without rose-tinted, unrealistic promises. Amid the current obsession with data, measurement and technology, this book reminds us why organized, ordinary citizens matter in the struggle to challenge power.”

Silvio Waisbord, Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University, past Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Communication (2015-2018), author of Communication: A Post-Discipline (Polity, 2019).


“From data practices to video activism, this book brings together the best scholars in the field who explore the stories, the values and struggles of those working on citizen media. A must read for anyone interested in these media forms, their social importance, and their struggle for social justice”.

Veronica Barassi, Senior Lecturer, Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths University of London. Author of Activism on the Web: Everyday Struggles Against Digital Capitalism (Routledge, 2015)

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