"The Fabric of Our Lives": Relationality, Ritual, and Regional Resistance in American Radio Broadcasting

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Ellin, Xandra Leah
thesis / dissertation description
A wide variety of international social movements over the course of history have utilized radio as a primary medium for political organizing. Despite media technology that has purportedly been eclipsing radio for nearly eight decades, radio continues to be a vehicle for resistance, advocacy, and contentious politics in a wide variety of communities. "'The Fabric of Our Lives': Relationality, Ritual, and Regional Resistance in American Radio Broadcasting" offers a theory-driven explanation for the ubiquitous implementation of radio as a resource for promoting, imagining, and attaining sociopolitical change with an emphasis on hyperlocal radio in small American communities. Utilizing a number of theoretical frameworks (materialism, objection relations, affect, localism, and social movements) I examine the oft overlooked characteristics of radio that distinguish it from other media. Ethnographic field work at two different American community radio station grounds some of the more involved theory. I ultimately posit that it is the unique psychosocial space radio occupies as a medium that has made it so pervasively viable in the development and expansion of social movements.