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Articulating dissent from the margins to the mainstream: the communicative strategies of protest coalition

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:25 authored by Pollyanna RuizPollyanna Ruiz
This thesis begins by complicating classical understandings of the public sphere and focusing on the ways in which loosely aligned protest groups communicate agonistically across difference. It argues that the organisational systems and structures of coalition movements enable activists to accommodate very differently orientated protest positions and explores the ways in which coalition activists attempt to preserve political solidarity across difference. It then goes on to examine the ways in which coalition movements attract and then maintain the attention of wider publics. It suggests that coalition protest movements unsettle and renegotiate the boundaries which have traditionally constituted the public sphere and considers the political potential inherent in the fractured and fractious spaces which exist between the political margins and the mainstream. These intertwined arguments are organised around an examination of the protest strategies of various grass roots movements. These include groups which have retrospectively been characterised as coalitions such as the women’s peace movement and the anti-Criminal Justice Bill movement as well as those which are currently defined as coalitions such as the anti-globalisation movement and the anti-war movement. This research utilises a wide range of research methods including participant observation, content analysis, semi structured interviews and textual analysis. In this way these chapters construct a textured account of the ways in which protest coalition movements articulate dissent from the margins to the mainstream. Protest coalition movements have become increasingly active players in the formation of public opinion. These developments require academics to address the issues raised by the communicative strategies of protest coalition movements. This thesis endeavours to contribute to these debates by reflecting upon the ways in which the articulation of polyvocal dissent alters the on going relationship between activists and the wider public.


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  • Media and Film Theses

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  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • dphil


  • eng


University of Sussex

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