Media and communicative practices in the quest for the commons: Chile’s 2011 student movement

Saavedra, Jorge. 2017. Media and communicative practices in the quest for the commons: Chile’s 2011 student movement. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis is an in depth analysis of the communicative and media practices displayed by the Chilean students movement, in 2011, and the way these practices contributed to the building of a commons with capacity for the political to exist in Chilean neoliberal democracy. The thesis interrogates the concept of the commons and in the process questions literature on democracy, social movements, and media and communication studies. I argue that in the context of the Chilean student movement the concept of voice should be seen as a political commons that has been expropriated from people in three ways: as a resource that is no longer relevant for the way neoliberal democracies are run; as a relationship curtailed by flawed space of mediation; and ultimately as a form of entitlement. Under these conditions, this thesis investigates the ways in which the commons of voice can be rendered from below and the political can be opened up in spite of the hollowing out of democracies in (neo)liberal times.

Embracing a qualitative approach involving interviews and focus groups to approach participants and thematic analysis and grounded theory to analyse data, the research presents four communicative and media practices: the knitting of trust in the intimacy of households and walled spaces; the displaying and representing of bodies in the urban realm; the construction of an imagined commons and the confronting of adversaries in mainstream media; the diffusing of information on the Internet and the failings of communicative exchanges on the web. These practices show the construction of a momentary commons based on practices of affection, presence, ideological dispute and collective identification that subverted neoliberal logics of coexistence, albeit for only a short period of time. The thesis hopes to provide insights that point towards the overcoming of the limitations of the communicative ecology of neoliberal democracies for a more lasting political imprint as well as imagining how politics might be done better from daily life landscapes and beyond outdated liberal frameworks.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


commons, social movements, Latin America, media and communications, neoliberalism, student movements

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


31 August 2017

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Sep 2017 09:43

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:00


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