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The indignados social movement and the image of the occupied square: the making of a global icon
journal contributionposted on 2017-08-15, 12:20 authored by Maria L. Rovisco
This article is concerned with how the indignados social movement (also known as M15) used distinctive symbolic and visual communication strategies to articulate their collective self-representation as a movement of global citizens. Through social semiotic analysis and critical discourse analysis of textual and visual materials available in the blogs of the encampments of Lisbon, Barcelona and Madrid, the author illuminates how the indignados used the image of the occupied square as a model of dissent and democratic participation, which becomes available for global circulation. Drawing upon Hariman and Lucaites’s conception of iconic image described in No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy (2007), the author argues that the image of the occupied square is a global icon that embodies the universal value of democracy. It is suggested that if we want to understand the image of the occupied square as an embodiment of democracy across nationally-defined public spheres, we need to understand the ways in which the indignados, as political agents, devised and used particular protest images to develop and dramatize a particular vision of democracy that resonates strongly with global audiences. The article goes on to show that the image of the occupied square resonates with global audiences because its meanings tap on a repertoire of culturally shared representations of non-violent occupations of urban space in the 20th century (e.g. Tiananmen Square, the American Civil Rights Movement sit-ins) that is powerfully embedded in Western public memory.
CitationVisual Communication, 2017, 16 (3), pp. 337-359
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/Department of Media and Communication
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)