In January 1994 the Zapatista movement in southern Mexico inaugurated a new era of media use for dissent. Since that time, an array of dissenting collectives and individuals have appropriated media technologies in order to make their voices heard or to articulate alternative identities. From Zapatista media to the Arab Spring, social movements throughout the world are taking over, hybridizing, recycling, and adapting media technologies. This new era poses a new set of challenges for academics and researchers in the field of Communication for Social Change (CfSC). Based on examples from Mexico, Lebanon, and Colombia, this article highlights and discusses four such research challenges: accounting for historical context; acknowledging the complexity of communication processes; anchoring analysis in a political economy of information and communication technologies; and positioning new research in relation to existing knowledge and literature within the field of communication and social change.
Media Culture Society, March 2014, vol. 36 no. 2, 150-166.