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Community Media in Transition, Vol. 10 - 2003, No. 1

Press Conferences or Puppets: NGOS' Street Groups’ Communication in the Battle of Seattle

, pages: 33-48

This article analyses the types of communication tactics and frames employed by various groups leading up to and during the massive resistance to the Seattle meeting of the World Trade Organisation in November 1999. Participant observation and frame analysis are employed to analyse the communication practices and messages of those groups protesting against the WTO. Organised institutions such as Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs) tended to adopt a reformist frame, using professional communication routines and bureaucratic language, designed in part to appeal to the mainstream media. Decentralised “street movement” groups often employed a radical frame and grass-roots participatory communication tactics, which drew in part on a postmodern culture jamming ethos that sought to disrupt and resist the very existence of the WTO. These findings suggest that this new global movement should not be analysed as a monolith and that ultimately a social movement’s approach to media embodies important messages beyond mere content.

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