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Manufacturing dissent: visual metaphors and community narratives

posted on 2023-06-15, 20:52 authored by Pollyanna RuizPollyanna Ruiz
Political organisations have traditionally relied on public demonstrations to show the strength of their commitment, draw attention to their cause and recruit fresh support. However, while mass demonstrations are an effective means of launching or consolidating campaigns, they are generally less suited to maintaining public interest in prolonged or slow moving political issues. In an attempt to create durable and positive frames around complex global issues, grass roots campaigners are increasingly turning to the public relations techniques commonly associated with commodity cultures. Traditional voices – from both the left and the right – argue that such public relations based discourses disguise and distract from conventional, reason-based political discourse. However, I will argue that these strategies create visual metaphors which enable popular narratives of resistance to move smoothly from subaltern to official public spheres. This argument will be rooted in an examination of the community based civil liberties group ‘Save Omar’ which campaigns for the release from Guantanamo Bay of Brighton resident Omar Deghayes. It will explore the ways in which the campaign has manufactured a series of ‘demonstrative events’ in order to access and influence the political frames of mainstream media such as BBC Southern Counties and the Brighton and Hove Argus.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Accepted version


Peter Lang

Page range




Book title

Notions of community: a collection of community media debates and dilemmas

Place of publication

Pieterlen, Switzerland



Department affiliated with

  • Music Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes


Janey Gordon

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First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


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