chapter  6
30 Pages

The Construction of Public Identities: Media Representations of Protest

The case of the two Reddito per Tutt* direct actions is similar to many other mobilisations on which literature about social movements and mainstream media focuses. Mainstream media, indeed, are far more than neutral channels of communication in that they name, frame and order the social realities they represent (Couldry 2000). They participate in the ‘making and unmaking’ (Gitlin 1980) of social movements: by emphasising some aspects of a demonstration and ignoring others, they construct representations of protest events that suggests to audiences how to interpret the social movement actors sustaining them. Interaction between social movements and mainstream media results in the construction of ‘public identities’ that will then inform the general public about the qualities of social movements (van Zoonen 1996; van Zoonen 1992).