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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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24

Citizenship, Communication, and Modes of Audience Engagement

Exploring Alternative Voices in the Public Sphere

Christine L. Garlough and Dhavan V. Shah

ABSTRACT

This chapter explores how citizens in Western and Eastern democracies are transforming communication messages and modalities to provoke audiences to engage in public life. These individuals are using a range of communication strategies and systems, some ancient and others nascent, to add their own voices and their constituents' voices to the public sphere. Reflecting on this orientation, we begin by considering how street theater is used throughout the world as a form of political rhetoric and as a venue for the creation of spaces where audiences may participate in thoughtful discussion. We focus on the use of theater by marginalized groups, as a medium for speaking about social injustices. We then consider how documentary film has been deployed across a range of countries as a tool in struggles for recognition and acknowledgment. Both “outsider” and mainstream efforts are explored, as sites for community building and maintenance. We end by examining how digital media are used in advanced societies as a means of populating the marketplace of ideas. Here we focus on how the Internet is used both as a source of information and as a sphere for audience interaction. In all of these cases, citizens are transforming the features and the form of media messages and modes, in an effort to incite their target audiences' interest ...

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