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Media Epiphanies: Selvies and silences in São Paulo street protests


ISBN: 978-1-78635-786-1, eISBN: 978-1-78635-785-4

Publication date: 30 May 2017


Looking at a series of recent large street protests in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, the chapter examines the relationship between political action, urban space, and media use. We specifically look at what we are calling media epiphanies, moments in which the public becomes aware of its existence as a mediated public, that is, as a public that is forged through the use of a particular media. We rely on extensive participant observation and interviews for the description of the June 2013 protests and the subsequent massive rallies. We examine the materiality of the employed media and the experience of participants to understand the meaning of the phenomenon, for which we used a combination of Frankfurt and Toronto Schools approach. The strength of the fluid June 2013 protests in São Paulo questioned the political status quo and served as a trampoline for subsequent media demonstrations whose political impact relied as well on traditional cultural forms. The 2016 impeachment House vote, as a true media event, reconstructed, in positive and negative terms, the fractured political dialogue of representation. The concept of media epiphany can be used to assess the strength of demonstrations and the meaning of collective action in general. Identifying these phenomena, we can give focus to empirical research and better examine the complex intersections between forms of communications, physical environments, and the experience of the individual in contemporary cities.



Pait, H. and Laet, J. (2017), "Media Epiphanies: Selvies and silences in São Paulo street protests", Brazil (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 13), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 231-257.



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