Left Out? Digital Media, Radical Politics and Social Change

Fenton, Natalie. 2015. Left Out? Digital Media, Radical Politics and Social Change. Information, Communication & Society, 19(3), pp. 346-361. ISSN 1369-118X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper begins from the basic premise that in considering digital media and its multifarious relations with forms of protest and political mobilization, we are interested in social change. Yet, too often, the key ingredient of protest and political mobilization – the radical politics itself – is left out of our analyses. How can we begin to tackle the challenges posed to democratic politics if we do not talk about actual politics as part of our research? This problem is both conceptual and practical. A politics requires a practice. We cannot understand the nature of the practice without understanding its politics; we cannot understand the politics without appreciating its processes and organization. Yet, so many studies do just this. This paper argues that a fugitive politics limits our abilities to take progressive thought and action forward. By ignoring the actual politics, we end up depoliticizing counter politics because we offer precious few suggestions as to how we can do democratic politics better. Without an understanding of the conditions under which a Left progressive politics could develop then the politics itself threatens to remain ill defined. What might it mean then to put the development of a counter politics at the heart of our analyses? What are the conditions required (including the communicative conditions) for radical political organizations/collectives to endure, build capacity and effect social change?

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



critical, radical, political, inequality, democratic

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre


14 October 2015Accepted
27 November 2015Published

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Date Deposited:

18 Dec 2015 09:12

Last Modified:

07 Mar 2019 14:15

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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