Film studies and citizen media

Authored by: Jens Eder , Britta Hartmann

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138665569
eBook ISBN: 9781315619811
Adobe ISBN:


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Film studies is a disciplinary field with open boundaries towards neighbouring disciplines like media studies, but with a specific focus on the aesthetic structures of film and audiovisual media in their various contexts and histories. This entry will focus on four strands of research that are relevant to citizen media: (1) the history of audiovisual citizen media, (2) citizens’ current documentary practices, including alternative or ‘radical film’, (3) the aesthetics of audiovisual protest, and (4) today’s video activism on the Web 2.0. The first strand reconstructs the historical development of, for instance, workers’ films or the uses of film and video in the context of civil rights movements in various countries. Research in the second strand, driven also by organizations like the Radical Film Network and regular events like Visible Evidence or the Workers Unite Film Festival, studies a varied field of topics ranging from documentaries made by non-professionals to self-organized activist film festivals. Recently, some film scholars have begun to analyze the visual aesthetics of protest, and a new line of research explores the emerging field of video-activism 2.0 between social media and social movements, focusing on its affective strategies, its counterpublics, and its practices of production and distribution. The entry will offer an overview on these different strands of research and draw on diverse audiovisual forms from various countries that serve as citizen media.

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