‘Social Media, Protest Cultures and Political Imaginaries’

Series Name Department of Media and Communication
Speaker Dr Tim Markham, Birkbeck, University of London
Type Lectures & Talks
Starts at Oct 08, 2014 04:00 PM
Ends at Oct 08, 2014 05:30 PM
Venue Bankfield House Seminar Room, 132 New Walk
Open To University staff and students
For Bookings Contact Jonathan Ong (jco10@le.ac.uk)

Join Dr Tim Markham for a seminar on ‘Social Media, Protest Cultures and Political Imaginaries’ on 8 October, the first in a series of seminars organised by the Department of Media and Communication. It will run from 4:00-5:30pm in the Bankfield House Seminar Room on 132 New Walk and a drinks reception will be provided at 5:30.

Booking is not necessary, all staff are welcome.

For more information please see the abstract below, or contact Jonathan Ong (jco10@le.ac.uk)


This session tackles the tendency in much of the academic literature to think about new protest cultures, especially in social media, in vitalist or ecological terms. In much the same way as Judith Butler’s performativity, the idea of social and political imaginaries has morphed from its original conception outlined by Charles Taylor to come to be defined negatively: there is a resistance to being prescriptive about new forms of political subjectivity, and instead spaces or sites of protean transformativity are identified and defended as though they were fragile life forms. But while social media might be experienced as immersive, serendipitous or ambient, it does not follow that they provide a blank canvas on which more authentic or pure cultures of protest will appear. Looked at phenomenologically, social media can be understood using the same terms as other media – thrownness, at-handness – terms which suggest that individualism and collectivism have not been superseded and that institutions still matter.

Speaker's Bio

Tim Markham is Reader in Journalism and Media at Birkbeck, University of London. He is author ofThe Politics of War Reporting: Authority, Authenticity and Morality (2011, Manchester University Press) and co-author of Media Consumption and Public Engagement: Beyond the Presumption of Attention (2007, Palgrave Macmillan). Other works focus on citizen journalism, celebrity culture and journalism in the Arab world.