The research project „Changing Protest and Media Cultures. Transnational Corporate Campaigns and Digital Communication” analyses the relation between changing media cultures and protest cultures. The main focus of research lies on computer-mediated political participation in the context of the mobilisation of transnational corporate campaigns. Having gained more and more importance since the nineteen-nineties, these campaigns aim at changing attitudes and behaviour patterns in terms of mobilizing citizens as consumer citizens. Protest action primarily targets single transnational corporations (e.g. Microsoft) resp. branches (e.g. garment industry or producers of sports wear).

As multinational corporations have gained more power in relation to national governments and international organisations due to accelerated processes of economic globalisation and neo-liberal reform policies, they are faced with numerous new and old forms of political protest action. Image-centred marketing strategies render global corporations more vulnerable to criticism of protest movements that benefit from new opportunity structures evoked by the media shift from analogue to digital technologies. While corporate PR and product advertising define the conditions for disseminating corporate images in mass media, the transition to a multimedia society - and above all the internet - provide technical possibilities to transform political protest in terms of transnational political consumerism campaigns.

The development of the internet gives rise to new technologies which allow the mobilization of spatially unbounded protest networks with low costs, high speed – beyond the selection of journalistic gatekeepers, and censoring intervention of state-institutions.

Apart from evaluating the effects of internet communication on the structure of protest organisations and the linking-up between the local, national, and transnational actors the project also analyses public arenas, programmes and frames of corporate campaigns as well as new forms of creating collective identity and new modes of aesthetic dramatization of political protest in the net.

Since July 2005, the project is part of the collaborative research center 615 of the DFG (German Research Foundation) at the University of Siegen.The collaborative research centre „Media Upheavals - Media Cultures and Media Aesthetics at the Beginning of the 20th and into the 21st Centuries“ and the research centre which is affiliated to it are analysing the meaning of media shifts for the emergence and modification of media cultures as well as for the development of media aesthetics. Unlike comparable research projects, the research centre combines technological aspects with questions of anthropology, cultural history, literary and social studies. The project „Changing Protest and Media Cultures” contributes to this a transdisciplinary perspective by analysing the significance of new media opportunity structures for new forms of post-conventional and transnational political participation.

Start of project: July 1, 2005

Duration: 4 years

Past Events organised by the Project

Conference "Social Web - Towards Networked Protest Politics"

University of Siegen

November 7-8, 2008

The research project invites interested persons to the conference "Social Web - Towards Networked Protest Politics", which will take place on November 7-8, 2008 at the Collaborative Research Center "Media Upheavals" of the University of Siegen. It is the aim of the conference, to dicuss about the question how the impact of web 2.0 can be assessed in terms of issue framing, collective action repertoires, shifting notions of the public and private, as well as new organizational structures. Besides, it is the aim to find answers to the question, whether the introduction and spread of web 2.0 technologies has led to the emergence of a new mode of protest politics.

Flyer of the Conference

Platform of the Conference

Article of the media publication "iRevolution" (English source)

Article of the media publication "iRevolution" (English source)

Article of the blog "" (German source)

Article of the blog "" (German source)

Workshop "Webcampaigning @ public sphere(s)"

University of Siegen

November 9, 2007

The research project invites interested persons to the workshop "Webcampaigning @ public sphere(s)", which will take place on November 9, 2007 at the Collaborative Research Center "Media Upheavals" of the University of Siegen. It is the aim of the small workshop, to dicuss and find answers to questions concerning the interrelation between campaign politics and the internet.

Workshop Information

Workshop "Consumers and Companies as Citizens. Citizenship as a Political Dimension of the Market?"

University of Siegen

November 9, 2006

On November 9, 2006, the research project invited interested persons to the workshop "Consumers and Corporations as Citizens. Citizenship as a Political Dimension of the Market?". In the workshop, scholars of various fields of research as well as representatives of NGOs and corporations discussed the transferability of the citizenship-concept to the behaviour of consumers and companies.

Flyer of the Workshop


The Project in the Media