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Nils Gustafsson (2020)

Nils Gustafsson

elite networks, political communication & social media

Nils Gustafsson (2020)

Mainstreaming the alternative: Changing Media Strategies of Protest Movements


  • Nils Gustafsson
  • Tina Askanius

Summary, in English

Combining a theoretical discussion of the inherent paradoxes in the celebration of new media technology as

a source of democratisation and empowerment of civic cultures with an empirical focus aimed at the

changing communicative manifests of mediated political protest, this paper analyses two cases of media

strategies in protest movements:

1) A series of civil disobedience actions and mobilisations of mass demonstrations before and after the

eviction and destruction of the Youth House in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2007-8.

2) The European Social Forum in Malmö, Sweden, September 2008.

The paper argues that contemporary protest movements are facing a convergence of what has traditionally

been coined as mainstream and alternative media.

Traditionally, the broad term ‘alternative media’ has been employed to embrace a wide range of oppositional

media channels that can be considered to carry on the tradition of the early radical and party press: micro

media operating at grass root level, discontinuous, non-professional, persecuted or illegal. Today, heavily

commercialised media and web-based social communities such as Facebook, YouTube and MySpace

constitute a common part of the repertoire of communication channels of alternative protest movements. Are

these new media channels a necessary mean in order to reach beyond the circles of the likeminded? Or, do

the use of these media point towards a mainstreaming process of protest-cultures of resistance to the

establishment eroding their very raison d’être?


  • Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation
  • Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap








  • Political Science


  • internet politics
  • social network sites
  • social media
  • Ungdomshuset
  • European Social Forum
  • social movements
  • protest movements

Conference name

II Global Conference “Shaping Europe in a Globalized World? Protest Movements and the Rise of a Transnational Civil Society"

Conference date

2009-06-23 - 2009-06-26

Conference place

Zurich, Switzerland




  • Viral politik. Politisk mobilisering i sociala medier