Contemporary Political Action – Political Science Research Paper

Contemporary Political Action – Political Science Research Paper

This project presents the research proposal “Mediactivism and the carnivalization of protest in contemporary political action”. By this, I intend to draw a panorama of recent political activism in various parts of the world, highlighting some vertentes of this activist wave in which we can see the choice for dramatized, spectacular, carnivalized or “fun” political manifestations. Drawing from this panorama, we can start an analysis of the groups who practice this particular form of protest and what leads them to do that.

Hypothetically, media comes as an important factor for these new types of protest manifestations. Contemporary activism seems to be strongly media-directed: groups prepare media manuals (inserir nota sobre media manuals que eu conheço), organize to record, edit and divulge manifestations videos, e assumem configurações which subvert marketing, propaganda and public relations techniques for their cause. As it is put by Luca Casarini, spokesman for the Italian group Tute Bianche,

We know what we need to make people talk about us (…) We use the winning languages, the ones that reach people. Hollywood doesn’t win by chance. This is the communications society. We can’t ignore the codes. (PEDEMONTE, 2001: 12-13) (nota de rodapé: adapted from the portuguese version)

Proceeding on the hypothesis, pranksterism comes as part of this media-centered activist culture. The laugh, the subversion, the debauchery, the prank – they all come, hypothetically, as adaptations of one of the fundamental logics of media: diversion. To draw the attention of viewers, media must constantly afastar-se do cotidiano, do corriqueiro, from the usual business of everyday life. This is not to say that the point of media is to entertain, but to create new, and more dramatized, ambiences to represent the world.

The political prank is fundamentally a rupture with all convictions about political action. It goes against seriousness, it goes against violence (not only physical violence, but the violence contained as well in speeches, in acts of discourse), it goes against the preconceived notions about the “revolucionário” who hides his face, carries guns and confronts the police with molotovs or rocks. Media may have a part in this too: as well as it serves as a watchdog of state repression, it would go against the violence in activist manifestations.

(falar sobre atenção que o novo ativismo recebe)
John Downing (2002), Michael Hardt e Antonio Negri (2001), John Holloway (2003), Harry Cleaver (1997, 1998), Slavoj Zizek (2003), Antonio Albino Canelas Rubim (1997, 2001, 2001b), Maria da Glória Gohn (2002, 2003) e Nicolau Sevcenko (2001, 2002),
Naomi Klein Sem Logo (1999) e Cercas e Janelas (2003)
George Monbiot (2004), Paul Kingsnorth (2003) e José Chrispiniano (2002), Christophe Aguiton (2002), Kalle Lasn (2000), José Bové (2001)
Campanhas publicitárias
Jogos (State of Emergency)
Música (Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down, Atari Teenage Riot)
Ficção (Cosmópolis, The Dreamers)
Documentários (Michael Moore, The Corporation, The Take, The Weather Underground, The Fog of War)

This making of a new world is a serious business. If we can’t laugh, the world we make will be square, and we won’t be able to turn it. (Subcomandante Marcos, quoted by KINGSNORTH: 2003: 28)

como um radicalismo revigorado , “o maior movimento global da história” (MONBIOT, 2004: 20), “novas, efetivas e urgentes condições de luta pela democracia” (SEVCENKO, 2002: 12) e “a emergência de uma rebelião global sem precedentes” (NOTES FROM NOWHERE, 2003: 14).
It’s not a revolution in the sense that the twentieth century has taught us to understand the word: not a massing of red flags this time, not a determination to seize the state, not a gathering of Peoples’ Parties with blueprints for a new Utopia. (KINGSNORTH, 2004: online)
I know so many different techniques that make it look like the whole ad was reprinted with its new message, as opposed to somebody coming at it with a spray-paint can. (…) The technology allows us to use Madison Avenue aesthetics agains itself. That is the most important aspect of this new wave of people using the guerilla tactic, because that’s what the MTV generation has become accostumed to – everything’s flashy, everything’s bright and clean. If you spend time to make it cleaner it will not be dismissed.” (KLEIN, 1999: 285-286)
It’s mostly nuts and bolts of media for activists: how to write a good press release; how to flack your story; how to identify and develop friendly media ties. But the most important thing we teach is how to distill very complex campaign themes into very simple messages, that can pass through the filter of corporate-controlled media and still make it out the other side into the homes of the American or global public, in a form that you would still consider effective – and can begin to create the political will we need to turn these things around. (SELLERS, 2001: 75)
(Journalists love fun stories, just like everyone else. The more fun the story, the more likely it is to get covered.) (RTMARK poster)

(colocar naquela apresentação inicial menções ao bloco medieval e ao trabalho com o cachimbo do cara da Dinamarca)

This outline is only a pre-presentation of my research problem. It was prepaired only as a solicitation for making appointments with members of the research staff. I have no intention of applying to the course for this year, and possibly not for 2006 as well, as I am still finishing my MA in Communications Science. When I have real intention of applying to the course, I will surely prepare a much better and aprofundada research proposal.


AGUITON, Christophe. O Mundo nos Pertence. São Paulo: Viramundo, 2002.
European edition: Le monde nous appartient : Porto Alegre, Florence, Evian : les acteurs d’une autre mondialisation. 10×18, 2003.

ANTOUN, Henrique. “Jornalismo e Ativismo na Hipermídia”, in Revista da FAMECOS no. 16, pp. 135-147. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, december 2001 (a).

ANTOUN, Henrique. “A Multidão e o Futuro da Democracia na Cibercultura”, in FRANÇA, Vera, WEBER, Maria Helena, PAIVA, Raquel e SOVIK, Liv (orgs.). Livro do XI COMPÓS. Porto Alegre: Sulina, 2001 (b).

ANTOUN, Henrique. “O Poder da Comunicação e o Jogo das Parcerias na Cibercultura”. Paper presented at the XII Compós, GT Tecnologias Informacionais de Comunicação e Sociedade, june 2004.

ARQUILLA, John e RONFELDT, David. The Advent of Netwar. RAND: 1996. Available at (access at 20/7/2004).

ARQUILLA, John e RONFELDT, David. In Athena’s Camp: Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age. RAND: 1997. Available at (access at 20/7/2004).

ARQUILLA, John, RONFELDT, David, FULLER, Graham e FULLER, Melissa. The Zapatista “Social Netwar” in Mexico. RAND: 1998. Available at (access at 20/7/2004).

ARQUILLA, John e RONFELDT, David. The Emergence of Noopolitik. RAND: 1999. Available at (access at 20/7/2004).

ARQUILLA, John e RONFELDT, David. Swarming and the Future of Conflict. RAND: 2000. Available at (access at 20/7/2004).

ARQUILLA, John e RONFELDT, David. Networks and Netwars: the future of terror, crime and militancy. RAND: 2001. Available at (access at 20/7/2004).

ARQUILLA, John e RONFELDT, David. “Networks, Netwars and the Fight for the Future”, 2001 (b). Available at (access at 14 de maio de 2004)

ASSIS, Érico Gonçalves de. “Adbusters e o Movimento de Contestação do Consumismo”, in Ecos Revista v.6, n.2, p.117 – 138. Pelotas: EDUCAT, 2002.

ASSIS, Érico Gonçalves de. “O Novo Protesto: Táticas de Manifestação Midiatizadas em Movimentos Sociais”. Paper presented at the IV Encontro de Núcleo de Pesquisas da Intercom / Núcleo de Comunicação para Cidadania (2004). Available at – taticas de manifestacao midiatizadas.pdf (access at 14/10/2004).

BEY, Hakim. TAZ – Zona Autônoma Temporária. São Paulo: Conrad, 2001.
UK edition: T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone. Autonomedia, 2004.

BIOTIC BAKING BRIGADE. Pie any means necessary. Oakland: AK Press, 2004.

BLISSETT, Luther. Guerrilha Psíquica. São Paulo: Conrad, 2001.

BOVÉ, José. O Mundo não é uma Mercadoria: Camponeses contra a Comida Ruim. São Paulo: UNESP, 2001.
UK edition: The world is not for sale: farmers against junkfood. Verso, 2002.

CASTELLS, Manuel. A Era da Informação: o Poder da Identidade. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 1997.
UK edition: The Power of Identity: the information age – economy, society and culture: vol 2. Blackwell, 2003.

CHRISPINIANO, José. A Guerrilha Surreal. São Paulo: Conrad, 2002.

CLEAVER, Harry. “Cyberspace and the End of Foreign Policy”. Available at, published in 1997 (access at 17/05/2004).

CROSSLEY, Nick. “Even Newer Social Movements? Anti-corporate protests, capitalist crises and the remoralization of society”, in Organization, volume 10 (2): pp. 287-305, 2003.

DE ARMOND, Paul. “Black Flag over Seattle”, in The Albion Monitor, published 29/2/2000. Available at (access at 20/7/2004).

DEBORD, Guy. A Sociedade do Espetáculo. Rio de Janeiro: Contraponto, 1997.
UK edition: Society of the Spectacle. Rebel Press, 2002.

DERY, Mark. Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing and Sniping in the Empire of Signs. Westfield: Open Magazine Pamphlet Series, 1993. Available at (access at 14/10/2004)

DOWNING, John D.H. Mídia Radical. São Paulo: editora Senac, 2002.
UK edition: Radical Media: Rebellious Communications and Social Movements. Sage, 2000.

ECO, Umberto. “Guerrilha Semiológica”, in Viagem na Irrealidade Cotidiana. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1984.
UK edition: Travels in Hyper Reality. Harcourt, 1990.

GIDDENS, Anthony. Para além da esquerda a da direita: o futuro da política radical. São Paulo: editora da UNESP, 1996.
UK edition: Beyond Left and Right: the future of radica politics. Polity, 1994.

HARVEST COMMUNICATIONS. “FWD: This made me laugh”. Available at (access em 03/4/2003). Published 2002.

KINGSNORTH, Paul. One No, Many Yeses: a journey to the heart of the global resistance movement. London: Simon & Schuster UK/Free Press, 2003.

KINGSNORTH, Paul. “The new face of revolution”, in Adbusters 55, sept-oct/2004 (Available at, access at 24/3/2005).

KLEIN, Naomi. No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. New York: Picador, 1999.

KLEIN, Naomi. Cercas e Janelas: na Linha de Frente do Debate sobre Globalização. São Paulo: Record, 2003.
UK edition: Fences and Windows: dispatches from the frontlines of the globalization debate. Flamingo, 2002.

LASN, Kalle. Culture Jam: how to reverse America´s Suicidal Consumer Binge – and why we must. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.

MAFFESOLI, Michel. A Transfiguração do Político: A Tribalização do Mundo. Porto Alegre: Sulina, 1997.
European edition: La transfiguration du politique: la tribalisation du monde moderne. La Table Ronde, 2002.

MATTELART, Armand. História da Utopia Planetária. Porto Alegre: Sulina, 2002.
European edition: L’histoire de l’utopie planetaire.. La Découverte, 2002.

MATTELART, Armand. História da Sociedade da Informação. São Paulo: Loyola, 2002 (b).
UK edition: The Information Society: an introduction. Sage: 2003.

McCARTHY, Helen, MILLER, Paul e SKIDMORE, Paul. Network Logic: who governs in an interconnected world? London: Demos, 2004.

MONBIOT, George. A Era do Consenso. São Paulo: Record, 2004.
UK edition: The Age of Consent. Flamingo: 2003.

NOTES FROM NOWHERE (eds.). We are everywhere: the irresistible rise of global anticapitalism. London: Verso, 2003.

ORTELLADO, Pablo e RYOKI, André. Estamos Vencendo! Resistência global no Brasil. São Paulo: Conrad, 2004.

RHEINGOLD, Howard. Smart Mobs: the Next Social Revolution. Final manuscript draft: april, 2002.

RODRIGUES, Adriano Duarte. Estratégias da Comunicação. Lisboa: Presença Editorial, 1997.

SELLERS, John. “Raising a Ruckus”, in New Left Review no. 10, pp. 71-85. London: New Left Review, julho-agosto de 2001.

SEVCENKO, Nicolau. A Corrida para o Século XXI. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2001.

SEVCENKO, Nicolau. “A primavera que não quer acabar”, in CHRISPINIANO, José. A Guerrilha Surreal. São Paulo: Conrad, 2002.

STARHAWK. “Como bloqueamos a OMC”, in Lugar Comum no. 11, pp. 9-14. Rio de Janeiro: Editora da UFRJ, 2000.

THOREAU, Henry David. A Desobediência Civil. Porto Alegre: L&PM, 2002.
UK edition: Civil Disobedience. Dover: 1993.

VANEIGEM, Raoul. A Arte de Viver para as Novas Gerações. São Paulo: Conrad, 2002.
UK edition: The Revolution of Everyday Life. Rebel Press: 1983.

THE YES MEN. The Yes Men: the true story of the end of the world trade organization. New York: Disinformation, 2004.