FMC Cross-Departmental Seminar Series 11 May 2016

Communicating Research

FMC Cross-Departmental Seminar Series 2015-16

The Faculty of Media and Communication at BU

Venue: W240, Weymouth House, Talbot Campus, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset, BH12 5BB

Wednesday 11 May 2016, 3pm, W240

A Centre for Politics and Media Research Guest Lecture

Maria Rovisco, Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester

Picturing the Square: the Indignados Social Movement, Pop-up Democracy and the Occupied Square

This paper is concerned with how the indignados social movement (also known as M15) used particular forms of symbolic communication to articulate their collective self-representation as a movement of global citizens. Using a cultural sociology approach, I argue that in their public communication the indignados use the image of the ‘occupied square’ as a symbol of democracy ‘from below’ to transcend the local and address a global public of equally disaffected ordinary citizens. City squares became a stage for a political theatre in which the indignados go on to articulate their democratic struggles and a new way of doing politics outside formal politics, which is highly performative, and constitutive of their collective identity. Drawing upon Hariman and Lucaites’s (2007) conception of iconic image, we will see 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 twentieth-century (e.g., Tiananmen Square, the civil rights sit-ins) that is powerfully embedded in western public memory. Through semiotic analysis of visual material (maps, photos, posters, image memes) and discourse analysis of public documentation (e.g., pamphlets, manifestos) available in the blogs of the encampments of Lisbon, Barcelona and Madrid, I will show how the occupied square can be understood both as a model of dissent and democratic participation, which becomes available for global circulation when it is picked up and amplified by the media.

About the series

This new seminar series showcases current research across different disciplines and approaches within the Faculty of Media and Communication at BU. The research seminars include invited speakers in the fields of journalism, politics, narrative studies, media, communication and marketing studies. The aim is to celebrate the diversity of research across departments in the faculty and also generate dialogue and discussion between those areas of research.

Contributions include speakers on behalf of

The Centre for Politics and Media Research

The Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community

Promotional Cultures & Communication Centre

Public Relations Research Centre

Narrative Research Group

Journalism Research Group

Advances in Media Management Research Group

Kind Regards,


Brian McNulty

Research Development Co-ordinator

Faculty of Media & Communication

The Loft (P181), Poole House, Talbot Campus

Fernbarrow, Poole

BH12 5BB

(+44 (0)7834 154984

Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00-16:30


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