When Users Push Back: Oppositional New Media and Community
Springer London, Dordrecht Amsterdam
The progressive privatization of Internet infrastructure in the U.S. throughout the 1990s fostered the resurgence of a mass media-style "pipeline" model of online content distribution favored by the media and entertainment industries. Nonetheless, and despite various attempts at suppression by corporations and law enforcement, a diverse community of artists, activists and citizens has found the Web and related technologies to be effective media for expressing their ideas and interests. In this paper oppositional new media are examined as a means of response and resistance to a popular culture that many groups regard as dominated by consumerism, political apathy and cultural and economic oppression. Cases are presented to illustrate key genres of oppositional new media, including the responses of mainstream corporate, government and lawenforcement authorities. The paper concludes with an overview of characteristics of oppositional new media and their implications for establishing and maintining community.