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The power of the unseen: environmental conflict, the media and invisibility


Lester, L and Hutchins, B, The power of the unseen: environmental conflict, the media and invisibility, Media Culture and Society, 34, (7) pp. 847-863. ISSN 0163-4437 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1177/0163443712452772


This article critically revisits the operation of ‘mediated visibility’ in the context of environmental conflict. Challenger groups have long gained access to news media and influenced political decision-makers by staging highly visible protest events that draw public attention to environmental threats and destruction. The advent of the world-wide web and digital media tools has since added to the tactical arsenal available to groups wanting to infiltrate and disrupt government and corporate networks of power. In turn, governments and corporations deploy these same tools to maintain their reputation and check opponents who oppose their activities. These developments have, we argue, produced a significant flow-on effect. The function of invisibility – or the coordinated avoidance of media communication, attention and respresentation in order to achieve political and/or social ends – is an under-examined feature of contemporary environmental politics. The case study and evidence presented here are drawn from fieldwork conducted in the Australian island state of Tasmania, and extensive content analysis of news media, social networking platforms and websites.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:activism, conflict, forestry industry, media and environment, mediated visibility, protest, symbolic power, Tasmania
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Communication and media studies
Research Field:Media studies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:The media
UTAS Author:Lester, L (Professor Libby Lester)
ID Code:83280
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:59
Deposited By:English, Journalism and European Languages
Deposited On:2013-03-07
Last Modified:2018-02-17
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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