‘Lay Theories’ article published in the International Journal of Communciaton (IJOC)

Just a quick bit of self promotion but an article I have been working on for some time and that was part of my PhD thesis has now been published in the International Journal of Communication (IJOC). I have pasted the title and abstract below but you can link to the article here. It is actually a piece I am quite happy with and it certainly benefited from the input of colleagues and peer reviewers. While I have a couple other publications from my thesis out (and another due next month on the impact of the 7/7 bombings on the media space during the Gleneagles protests), I hope this piece on ‘lay theories’ can serve as a helpful conceptual springboard for studying how activists think about and interact with media. On this note, I’ll try and get a blog post up in the next week reporting back from the Small Media Initiative I attended last week.

Theorizing “Lay Theories of Media”: A Case Study of the Dissent! Network at the 2005 Gleneagles G8 Summit
Patrick McCurdy


Drawing on “active audience studies” and recent theories of mediation, the concept of “lay theories of media” is proposed as a means to understand how social movement actors think about and interact with news media as part of the “practice” of activism. The argument is made via a case study of the Dissent! network using data gathered from participant observation in the planning and enactment of protests at the 2005 Gleneagles G8 Summit in Scotland and 30 semi-structured interviews with activists. This article argues that Dissent! activists approached Gleneagles with existing knowledge and experience about news media and demonstrates how these “lay theories” informed their activism. The conclusion stresses the utility of “lay theories” in analyzing how perceived knowledge about how the media function influences or underwrites political activism.


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