Back to the future? Internet, radio, and power asymmetries in Latin American social movements

TitleBack to the future? Internet, radio, and power asymmetries in Latin American social movements
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Reilly, K.
Affiliation (1st Author)School of Communication Simon Fraser University
Section or WGInternational Communication Section
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeINCT3a
Slot Code (Keyword)INCT3a
Time of Session14:00-15:30
RoomCG86
Session TitleGlobal online media, crisis and activism
Submission ID6235
Abstract

When Internet was introduced into Latin America in the 1990s, the dual context of national democratization and global neoliberal multilateralism made this new communications medium the technology of choice for transnational social movements. But by the millennium, activists and academics sharply critiqued the political divides that internet had created between under-resourced, local, radical, grassroots movements and internationally funded, urban, social-democratic, professionalized NGOs. Fast forward 15 years, and Latin America's 'left tide' has embraced a wave of media reforms that is democratizing access to radio spectrum. Radio is experiencing a massive renaissance as the communications technology of choice for social movements. This shift would seem to vindicate past asymmetries created by the introduction of internet. But in an era of global power shift and growing Latin American regional autonomy, is radio empowering social movements, or is it actually cutting them off from participation in regional and international processes? This paper will address this question by exploring shifting historical contexts, relevant theoretical frameworks, and the emerging empirical picture.

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