Becoming global (un)civil society: struggles in the global Indymedia network

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Sullivan, S ; Spicer, A ; Böhm, S

In this paper we ask how actors and organisations can become constructed and treated as part of ‘uncivil society’. We contest the notion that ‘uncivil’ necessarily\ud equates with the dark of qualities of violence and organised criminality. Instead, we take a Gramscian perspective in suggesting that what becomes ‘uncivil’ is any\ud practice and organisation that attempts to contest and escape the disciplining enclosures of the hegemonic order, of which civil society is a necessary part. To trace\ud this phenomenon, we consider several ways in which a global media network called Indymedia has established and maintained itself as a counter-hegemonic mediaproducing\ud organisation. In this case, a conscious positioning and self-identification as counter-hegemonic has been accompanied by the framing and sometimes violent\ud disciplining of nodes of this network as ‘uncivil’ by cooperating state authorities. This is in the absence of association of this network with organised violence or crime. We intend our reflections to contribute to a deepening theorisation of the terms ‘civil’ and\ud ‘uncivil’ as they are becoming used in international relations and social movement studies.
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