Articles and Chapters

Robertson, A. (forthcoming 2018) ‘Introduction’, in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Robertson, A., Chiroiu, L. & Grecu, D. (forthcoming 2018) ‘Protest on global television: protest maps, violence and voice’ in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Robertson, A., Chiroiu, L. & Ceder, M. (forthcoming 2018) ‘The protest paradigm and global television news narratives of dissent’ in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Schrettle, K. (forthcoming 2018) ‘Mediating Democracy: global television news and the Greek protests of 2015’ in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Hänska, M. & Bode, M. (forthcoming 2018) ‘How the ubiquity of eyewitness media changes the mediation and visibility of protests in the news’ in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Becker, K. (forthcoming 2018) ‘Icons of Protest in the Visual Cultures of News’ in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Robertson, A. & Gojowy, A. (forthcoming 2018) ‘Protest, Place, In Pictures. The public square in Al Jazeera English photo essays’ in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Robertson, A. (forthcoming 2018) ‘From Robin Hood to Mr. Robot: Popular Cultural Narratives of Protest on Television’ in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Grecu, D. & Robertson, A. (forthcoming 2018) ‘Audio Visuals: protest and the popular music screen’ in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Cowman, K. (forthcoming 2018) ‘The Militant Suffrage Campaign on Screen’ in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Widestedt, K. (forthcoming 2018) ‘Breaking news from Petrograd, 1917: remediated revolution as popular history’ in A. Robertson ed. Screening Protest: Visual narratives of dissent across time, space and genre. London & New York: Routledge.

Robertson, A. (2015) ‘Activists’, chapter 6 of Media and Politics in a Globalizing World. Cambridge: Polity.

Robertson, A. (2015) ‘What’s Going on? Making Sense of the Role of the Media in the Arab Uprisings’. Sociological Compass, Volume 9, Issue 7, pp. 531-541.

Robertson, A. (2013) ‘Connecting in crisis:‘old’ and ‘new’ media and the Arab Spring’ International Journal of Press/Politics 18: 325-341.

Robertson, A. (2012) ‘Narratives of Resistance: Comparing Global News Coverage of the Arab Spring’, New Global Studies Vol 6, Issue 2, Article 3.

Conference presentations

Robertson, A. (2017) ‘Desperately Seeking Global News: the Newsworlds of Al Jazeera English, BBC World, CNN International and RT’, Reuters Institute/International Journal of Press Politics conference, Oxford, 27-29 September

Robertson, A. (2017) ‘Fake News and Failed States: the strategic narratives of RT’, paper presented at the Future of Journalism Conference, Cardiff, 14-15 September

Robertson, A. (2017) ‘From Robin Hood to Mr. Robot: popular cultural narratives of protest on television’, paper presented at the European Sociological Association Conference entited (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities’ conference, Athens, 29 Aug – 1 September

Karlsson, M (2017). “Policing the crisis in early Swedish cinema – A different story about (mass) media, violence and dissent.” Paper presented at the XXVII IAMHIST International Conference, Media and history: Crime,Violence and Justice. Paris, 10-13 July

Karlsson, M (2017) “Between Presence and Representation – An Exploration of Mayday in Early Swedish Cinema”, paper presented at the conference. Tracing entanglements in media history, Lund University, 17-19 May

Becker, K. (2017) ‘Where have all the icons gone?’ Images of protest in transnational news’,paper written for workshop/symposium  ’News Images and Icons in theDigital Age: Photojournalism in Transition”, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, 8-11 January

Bode, M. (2016) ‘Verification processes and the ecology of eyewitness media’. Presentation at the symposium “Photography in Print & Circulation” Valand Academy and the Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, 17-19 November

Robertson, A. (2016) ‘Protest on Television: Contesting the Past and Present in Popular Cultural Narrative’, paper written for ECREA, Prague, 9-12 November

Becker, K. (2016) ‘TransnationalRepresentations of Protest in the News’, panel presentation at ECREA, Prague,9-12 November

Becker, K. (2016) ’Contemporary Visual Icons of Protestin the News’, COMET Lecture Series, University of Tampare, 27 October

Becker, K. (2016) ‘TransnationalRepresentations of Protest in the News,’ Communication Seminar Series, Schoolof Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 7 September

Becker, K. (2016) ‘Envisioning aCommon Space: Challenges to Research and Critique in Contemporary VisualStudies’, keynote lecture, International Visual Sociology Association meetings,Lillehammar, 22 June

Hänska, M. & Bode, M. (2016) ‘Verification processes and the ecology of eyewitness media in the news’. Presentation at the Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft (HIIG), Berlin

Karlsson, M. (2016) ‘Moving Images, Moving Expectations: An Exploration of Mediated Protets in Early Cinema’ Presentation at the London School of Economics, Media and Communications PhD Symposium

Robertson, A. (2015) ‘Taking to the Screens. A narrative approach to the study of televisual depictions of protest in complex media ecologies’. Paper presented at the conference on ‘Protest Participation in Variable Communication Ecologies. Meaning, Modalities, Implications’, Alghero, 24-26 June

Robertson, A. (2015) ‘Protests of Elsewhere’. Paper presented at the World Politics and Popular Culture conferenc in London, 20-21 November

Becker, K. (2015) ‘Visual Iconsof Protest in the News,’ paper presented for 4th InternationalVisual Methods Conference, Brighton, 16-18 September

Grecu D. (2015) ‘Where have all the protest songs gone? Popular culture and protest – an analysis of The Billboard Year End Rock Charts.’ Paper presented at the World Politics and Popular Culture conference in London, 20-21 November


Prague, 27 May 2018

Visualizing the Voice(s) of Protest on Global Screens

Panel at the ICA Annual Conference, hosted by the Visual Communication Division and division on Global Politics and Social Change

The panel explores the visualization of voice in screening protest, and offers a preview of the project anthology, Screening Protest, to be published by Routledge in the summer of 2018. With the screen as its conceptual focus, the panel addresses the broad phenomenon of how protest is represented and what voices are heard and seen in global media.

Screening Protest – Comparing mediations of dissenting voices across time, space, and genre

Alexa Robertson, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

Representations of protest on screen and the televisual narratives that frame them tie the five papers in the panel together. Robertson argues that, as a multidimensional and contradictory concept, the ‘screen’ provides a key to comparing (1) what is made visible, and what is obscured or screened out; (2) spaces of public vs. domestic or private viewing, embedded in the mobile, digital environment; (3) sites of past, present and imagined futures, not least across genre.

Protests on global television: Visualizing Newsworlds, Violence and Voice

Luiza-Silvia Chiroiu (presenter), Alexa Robertson, Diana-Andrea Grecu , Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

With the scholarly literature highlighting the increasingly transnational nature of contemporary protest, this paper explores the extent to which protest is depicted as a ‘global’ issue on television news. It compares the depiction of protest between 2011 and 2016 in the newsworlds of four global news channels – BBC World (BBCW), CNN International, (CNNI) Al Jazeera English (AJE) and RT (formerly Russia Today) – each moored in a different cultural setting and with a different relation to political power, using visualization of quantitative data to clarify the complex interface between world politics in turbulent times and a rapidly evolving media landscape.

Whose ‘voice’ do we see? Images of protest in visual journalism on screen

Karin Becker, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

In this paper, Becker looks at still and moving images of protest on global news screens. Despite finding many visual themes in common, she argues that there are distinct contrasts that cannot be accounted for only by differences of medium. For the broadcast journalist, it has become common to film from street-level, jostled by the crowd and engulfed in teargas when the conflict turns violent. The visual style is participatory, and includes visual attributes similar to amateur footage. In contrast, still photographs from these protests often adhere to a style that is less ‘documentary’ and more ‘expressionistic’, to use Solaroli’s distinction. The paper concludes by reflecting on these styles as representing different professional responses to user-generated content, and as visualizing different voices.

Strategic Narratives and Protest Coverage on Global Television News: Reporting the Voices of Dissent from the Ukraine, the US and Hong Kong

Alexa Robertson (presenter), Luiza-Silvia Chiroiu, Madeleine Ceder, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

This paper considers how the ‘voice’ of protest in global television news varies according to protest site and newsroom culture. The focus is on the strategic narrative and its relation to the classic, but nation-based reporting of the ‘protest paradigm’, where the story is typically one of confrontation between protesters and police, and lacks accounts of claims and grievances. Drawing on an analysis of 381 television news mediations of protest ny five broadcasters during 2014, the paper charts the strategic use of voice in the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, those that began in Ferguson in the US, and the Occupy Central or ‘Umbrella’ protests in Hong Kong. It transpires that while some broadcasters silenced protesters’ voices through ‘marginalization devices’ familiar from the literature, other broadcasters included a broader range of voices and, in some settings, privileged the dissenter..

Militant Suffrage on Screen

Krista Cowan, School of History and Heritage, University of Lincoln, United Kingdom

Against the backdrop of the centenary of ‘Votes for Women’ in the UK, this paper explores the main screen representations of the British Women’s Suffrage campaign. The flamboyant campaigns of the Women’s Social and Political Union, the largest militant society, were at their height as public cinemas arrived in Britain. Cowman argues that the Union’s large ‘set piece’ demonstrations as well as its smaller more violent actions proved irresistible to newsreel photographers while opponents of the campaign were able to enjoy comic feature films that ridiculed the potential of suffrage to disrupt gender roles. From century-old depictions of suffrage on screen, through Fame is the Spur(1947), Mary Poppins(1964), Shoulder to Shoulder(1974), and up to Suffragette(2015), the paper asks why women’s suffrage has struggled to come to screen as well as fruition.


Alexandra Segerberg, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University



Stockholm, 13 May 2016

Screening Protest Symposium

Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

This event brought together scholars who share an interest in media and protest, and who approach the study of protest mediations through different theoretical and empirical entry points.

Verification processes and the ecology of eyewitness media in the news

Mike Bode, visual artist, and Max Hänska, De Montfort University

Footage recorded by ordinary citizens of protests in the Arab Spring, throughout Occupy and up to the refugee crisis in Europe of 2015 has become a ubiquitous feature of online flows. In tandem with this, Bode and Hänska argue that user-generated content has also become more important in the newsroom. In this talk, they describe how eyewitness media is systematically collected, processed and authenticated by verification hubs, based on interviews at the BBC in London.

Individualising Engagement: Representations of Social Media and Political Engagement in the Canadian Press

Delia Dumitrica, Department of Media and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam

From students protesting the schools’ dress codes to local communities challenging urban development plans, online platforms are thought to empower citizens who voice dissent. But traditional media constitute crucial sites for the articulation of new horizons of democratic expectations too. In this paper, Dumitrica presented the results of a qualitative analysis of stories about this published in the Canadian press between 2006-14.

Rethinking Justice in a Globalizing Age: The Case of Climate (In)Justice, Activists and the Media

Anna Roosvall, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

In this paper, Roosvall argued that justice – a concept traditionally related to the nation – needs to be re-thought in a globalizing age. Building on interviews with indigenous activists at the UN climate summits in Durban 2011 and Paris 2015, as well as analyses of media reporting from these and other summits, the paper discusses different scales of justice in relation to climate change, media ecology, indigenous peoples and protest.

Visual Icons of Protest in the News: new wine in old wineskins?

Karin Becker, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

In this presentation, Becker traced a shift in the visual cultures of journalism, using transnational media coverage of protest as a point of entry. Based on a pilot study of selected coverage of protests in Greece (2008), Tehran (2009) and Cairo (2011), she proposed a framework for interrogating the changing relationships between still and moving images in global media reporting of protest.

Protests and Places in global television news 2011-15

Alexa Robertson, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

This paper asked how representations of protest in global television news over a six-year period varied according to protest site and issue, and to newsroom culture. The reporting of seven global newsrooms was compared: BBC World, CNN International, Deutsche Welle, Euronews, Al Jazeera English, RT and China’s CCTV. Although largely quantitative in approach, the analysis drew preliminary ‘maps of meaning’, to borrow Stuart Hall’s phrase, in which contemporary protest plays out on screen.



Stockholm, March-April 2016

Media and Protest Public Lecture Series

Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

This series of six lectures, hosted by Stockholm’s Senior University – a non-profit organization that organizes lecture series, seminars and excursions for pensioners – examined the mediation of contemporary activism from a variety of scholarly vantage points, presenting Screening Protest themes and results to a broader audience.

Why are Thinkings ‘Kicking off Everywhere’?

Alexa Robertson, 9 March 2016

This first lecture in the series gave an overview of the role of the media in recent political turbulence. The British journalist Paul Mason claimed in his eponymous book that the mediatized protests of recent years amount to a global revolution. The lecture surveyed the analytical tools and concepts on offer to make sense of such developments.

Media, Indigenous Peoples and Climate Justice

Anna Roosvall, 16 March 2016

The second lecture looked at how climate change is a global problem with unevenly distributed local impact. Many indigenous people live in particularly vulnerable areas, such as the Arctic, and demands for climate justice can be heard from these groups. Roosvall explained how indigenous activists work and how the media report about their climate activism and protests.

The Power of the Image in Protest

Karin Becker,23 March 2016

In this lecture, Becker drew attention to the fact that news coverage of contemporary protests is often largely comprised of visual narratives. It can seem at times that the same images recur, even though protests take place in different sites, address different problems, and are reported in different media. How do ‘iconic images’ arise? And what do they mean – historically, in the media, and among activists?

Mobile Technology and Protest

Christian Christensen, 6 April 2016

In this lecture on the role of smartphones in social movements, Christian Christensen, Professor of Journalism at Stockholm University, explained how social media like Twitter and Facebook have fundamentally altered the way we get information and reach out to others around the world.

The Protests of Yesterday and Tomorrow in News and Popular Culture

Alexa Robertson, 13 April 2016

Demonstrators have not always been able to use Twitter and YouTube to reach out. This lecture was about how popular cultural narratives have been important vehicles for mobilization through the ages, and how once-silenced voices of dissent can now be heard through contemporary television drama. What do films like ‘Suffragette’ (2015), ‘The Hunger Games’ (2012-15), ‘Pride’ (2014) and ‘V for Vendetta’ (2005) – among many others – say about protest?

Who Can We Trust?

Alexa Robertson & Mike Bode, 20 April 2016

How are we to navigate through the new media landscape? How do we know what is true and credible and who has the power over the new narratives we encounter? In this final lecture, Alexa Robertson and Mike Bode talked about the different agendas of global news broadcasters, and verification strategies for the use of user-generated content, in the reporting of protest.



2015 – 2018

Screening Protest Seminars

Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

At these seminars, we invite colleagues and students to listen to guest researchers and updates on our ongoing work.

23 October 2015

Aesthetics of Propaganda: uses of media for popular protest

Gürkan Özturan, Turkish journalist and activist

At this seminar, Özturan talked about the Gezi Park protests and the change of discourse in Turkey following the Occupy Movement in opposition politics, and spoke about developments in media pluralism and freedom in recent years.

6 November 2015

Crisis and Critique: a History of Media Participation

Anne Kaun, Södertörn University

In this presentation, Kaun offered a differentiated analysis of the role of social media in facilitating protests by considering a potential gap between different temporalities of media practices on the one hand, and political practices on the other. Drawing on the New York-based cases of the Unemployed Workers Movement in the 1930s, the Tenants’ Movement in the 1970s and the Occupy Wall Street Movement of 2011, she argued the need to re-politicize media infrastructures as means of communication to tackle democratic problems emerging from divergent temporalities.

4 December 2015

Do You Hear the People Sing “Lift Your Umbrella”?’

Tim Rühlig, Goethe University of Frankfurt

At this seminar, Rühig presented the results of fieldwork he did in Hong Kong during the Occupy Central Movement of 2014, and how the pro-democracy movement used YouTube music videos as a vehicle for mobilization.

29 January 2016

Digital Media and the Transnationalization of Protests

Michael Dahlberg-Grundberg, Umeå University

Dahlberg-Grundberg talked about his doctoral dissertation, in which he explored some of the geographical consequences of the use of digital media for political activism, by focusing on the transnationalization of protests. The more decentralized the social movement, he found, the more vibrant the transnational public. In order to explain how transnational social movements, using digital media, can emerge in cases where geographical distances might make such coalitions unlikely, he argued for the utility of the notion of affectual proximity, to help understand how transnational social movements, connecting actors from all over the world, can emerge through digital media.

11 March 2016

Reporting the 1989 uprising in the GDR

Astrid Otto, Inst. for Media and Communication Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

At this seminar, Astrid Otto presented her research on the comparative analysis of news stories broadcast during the uprising that toppled the Berlin Wall.

7 October 2016

Crowds/publics/audiences: historical snapshots of the mass in the media

Kristina Widestedt, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

The attraction between masses and the media was explored in this historical study of media representations of ‘the crowd’ in different emotional modes and with various registers of preferred collective action. By comparing the behaviour of the mass in consensual and contentious settings, Widestedt sought to contribute to the understanding of protesters by shedding light on their ‘others’ – the consenting public.

10 March 2017

Visual Analysis of the ‘crisis’

Jelena Jovicic, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University

In this seminar, Jovicic presented a study of the portrayal of asylum-seekers and refugees in German newspapers. Working in the interface between sociology, criminology and visual studies, her aim was to explore the practices of criminalization of migration as reflected in changing political and media discourses.

12 May 2017

Filming Revolution

Alisa Lebow, University of Sussex

In this presentation, film scholar and practitioner Alisa Lebow spoke about her work with documentary film and its relation to ‘the political’. With her interactive website ‘Filming Revolution’ (, she spoke about why some interactive projects have productively resisted the compulsion to narrate a story.

19 May 2017

Activist Media in Turkey

Gürkan Özturan, Turkish journalist and activist

In this return visit, Özturan spoke about how recent developments had ushered in one of the darkest periods in Turkish media history. At a time when even basic facts became subject to censorship, he argued the unprecedented need for platforms providing accurate and verified information and sites for open public discussion. Özturan described the work of journalist activists to maintain such a platform: dokus8NEWS.

26 October 2017

Screening Protest at the Higher Seminar

Alexa Robertson

Results of ongoing analyses conducted within the framework of the Screening Protest project were presented at this faculty seminar, with a presentation exploring how the struggle with a double-edged problem of representation has played out on global television, in the television of the 1960s, and in television drama.

Thurs 8 Feb 2017

The Circuit of Protest

Bart Cammaerts, London School of Economics

In this talk, Cammaerts presented a conceptual framework, denoted as The Circuit of Protest, in order to theorise as well as study the various ways in which social movement discourses and frames circulate through a society. He argued that this circulation is increasingly mediated and shaped by what he has called the mediation opportunity structure. The Circuit of Protest has four core-moments: 1) the production of movement discourses, frames and a collective identity, 2) a set of self-mediation practices to disclose and examine the movement frames, as well as create memories, 3) the mainstream media representations of protest and the movement and 4) the reception of the self-mediation practices and mainstream media representations by non-activist citizens. Cammaerts studied each of these moments in the context of UK’s anti-austerity movement (Occupy, UK Uncut and student protests) by using frame analysis, interviews with activists, two content analyses, a survey and focus groups with non-activist citizens.