Transformations in Media, Citizenship and Participation in the Post-2008 EU


April 3, 2015 from 9:00 am – 6:30 pm in 215 Dauer Hall

The workshop provides a setting for exploring the social, spatial and cultural effects of the 2008 (financial, economic, social) crisis in Europe. Particular attention will be paid to the geopolitical transformations in the aftermath of the crisis, and the roles of various media in it. We will discuss how (media) strategies of political action and participation have emerged at the juncture of citizen engagement, spatial production and media consumption, at levels that range from the local to the European. Theoretical contributions will address concrete cases in post-2008 Europe.

Produced by the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and the Center for European Studies. Free and open to the public.












Friday, April 3, 2015
Time Topic / Event
9:00 a.m. – 9:15 am Esther Romeyn: General Introduction
9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Maria Stehle (University of Tennessee Knoxville)
“Awkward Politics: Feminist Activism in the Neoliberal Age”
10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Anikó Imre (University of Southern California)
“Pop Music, Gender and Nationalism”
10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Questions and Discussion
11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. COFFEE BREAK
11:30 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Michael Gorham  (University of Florida)
“From Direct Democracy to Sovereign Internet: Electronically-mediated Communication and New Media Politics in Putin’s Russia”
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. LUNCH BREAK (lunch provided to panelists only)
2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Peter Mörtenböck (Vienna University of Technology; Goldsmiths College, University of London)
“E-Citizenship: From territorialized rights to exchange values”
2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Helge Mooshammer (Vienna University of Technology; Goldsmiths College, University of London)
“Crowd Society”
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Questions and Discussion
4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. COFFEE BREAK
4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Zala Volcic (Pomona College)
“What Can We Learn from Activism of Otpor! in Serbia”
5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. Cristina Ampatzidou (University of Groningen, PhD Candidate)
“Chewing Gum and Graffiti: The Aestheticized City Narrative in post-2008 Athens”
5:45 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Questions and Discussion, Conclusions
7:30 p.m. Dinner (panelists only)


Maria Stehle (University of Tennessee Knoxville)

Awkward Politics: Feminist Activism in the Neoliberal Age

In this presentation, Dr. Stehle contextualizes current feminist activisms within a particular political moment and in the context of the recent global economic crises. Based on selected examples, she traces the “awkward politics” produced by these activisms and their media circulations.

Anikó Imre (University of Southern California)

Pop Music, Gender and Nationalism

This presentation revolves around mediated musical performances that reflect on the ambivalences of nationalism through excessive gendered and sexualized displays in a post-Cold War Europe struggling with the impact of the EU’s eastward expansion and ongoing financial crisis. The two main case studies are the queer, carnivalesque performances that have recently dominated the annual televised song contest Eurovision and the media activism of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot. Borrowing Nancy Fraser’s terminology, I consider the politics, economic underpinnings and the aesthetics of these performances test cases against which to assess the relevance of a postcolonial, transnational feminist approach that reunites the politics of recognition (often collapsed into identity politics) with the politics of redistribution.

Michael Gorham (University of Florida)

From Direct Democracy to Sovereign Internet: Electronically-mediated Communication and New Media Politics in Putin’s Russia

Recent world events have shown that new media technologies are neither “democratic” nor “authoritarian” by nature or design. Depending on a variety of factors—cultural, political, and technological—they have the capacity to both aid and suppress revolution. That being said, Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, social networking, and crowdsourcing sites nearly always begin as alternative spaces and, as such, naturally attract oppositional voices. In the United States political blogging grew out of a frustration with the mainstream coverage of the television and print media for being (from either left or right) too “mainstream.” This has especially been the case in Russia, where Vladimir Putin and associates have maintained tight control over print media and broadcast television especially.

In this presentation I will document the role played by the internet and new media technologies in the Russian protest movements of 2011–2012, then examine the various mechanisms with which the Putin regime has subsequently sought to either harness or undermine their power as tools for grass-roots organization and civic exchange. At the root of the battle, I argue, lie two fundamentally different models of language and communication—one “civic,” the other “civilizational.”

Peter Mörtenböck (Vienna University of Technology; Goldsmiths College, University of London)

E-Citizenship: From territorialized rights to exchange values

The 2008 financial crisis has highlighted a critical shift in our understanding of notions of mobility, citizenship and land use, which are now seen as interrelated, flexible and contingent practices rather than as defined by administrative or regulatory means. It has also shown how new modes of citizenship are being produced at the intersections of international corporate interests, the differentiated exercise of state power and the contingent struggle of citizens themselves, and thereby extending the concept of citizenship beyond the idea of the enjoyment of territorialized rights. In this talk, I will present various examples of the rising tension between an increasing contractualization of citizenship and the bottom-up struggle for new forms of cultural, social and economic participation in Europe.

Helge Mooshammer (Vienna University of Technology; Goldsmiths College, University of London)

Crowd Society

The rapid mediatisation of social contacts over the last decade has brought to the fore a new form of social organization that we might term the “crowd society”. In this seemingly borderless field of interaction, cultural, economic and political participation acquires an element of co-production. In my workshop contribution, I will discuss the distinctly speculative dimension in this economization of life: from crowd-funding to the open city and from twitter-politics to e-citizenship.

Zala Volcic (Pomona College)

What Can We Learn from Activism of Otpor! in Serbia

Serbian youth political movement called Otpor! [Resistance] that has been widely credited for leading the successful struggle to overthrow Slobodan Milošević and his regime in October 2000. Otpor! as a movement was created in Belgrade, Serbia in 1998, and the young activists were able to mobilize roughly 25,000 members in the first two months of existence. In my presentation, I want to shortly present Otpor’s case-study which offers intriguing example of a particular political youth movement, capable of making changes while employing non-violent, politically and artistically inspired methods.  Otpor’s! analysis provides useful insights into various ways to think about the relation between culture, youth, movements, resistance, and social change. I want to specifically explore what can contemporary activism learn from Otpor!, and how the focus on “the spatial” matters – territorial place continues to be a fundamentally important aspect of political change—even within the realm of media. Activists in former Yugoslavia, who are engaged in different causes and struggles (from reconciliation to economic) – need to gather in physical spaces in order to interact, to stage their demands, to be seen, to be present in the face of any kind of oppression.

Cristina Ampatzidou (University of Groningen, PhD Candidate)

Chewing gum and graffiti: the aestheticized city narrative in post-2008 Athens

The public discourse in post-2008 Greece has been largely dominated by a narrative that deals with the city as a highly aestheticized collection of phenomena, treated as isolated and unrelated. The disproportionate media focus on the physical dimension of the city has been exemplified in the rise of a new idea of citizenship, the de-politicized ‘active citizens’, that volunteer to substitute the state, by taking matters on their own hands without challenging the existing institutions. Through a series of recent examples, we will discuss the rhetoric emphasis on the appearance of the urban landscape, both on formal political speech as on mainstream media.


Maria Stehle (Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2005) is Associate Professor of German and faculty in Cinema Studies at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Her publications include a monograph entitled Ghetto Voices in Contemporary German Cultures: Textscapes, Filmscapes, and Soundscapes (Camden House, 2012) book chapters, and articles in the fields of German, Media, Film, and Gender Studies. Stehle currently collaborates with Dr. Smith-Prei on a research project, entitled “The Technologies of Popfeminist Activism” and funded by an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Anikó Imre is an Associate Professor in the School of Cinematic Arts of the University of Southern California. Her work revolves around global media, with a special interest in (post)socialism. Her books include Identity Games: Globalization and the Transformation of Media Cultures in the New Europe; Transnational Feminism in Film and Media; East European Cinemas; Blackwell Companion to Eastern European Cinemas; and Popular Television in Eastern Europe During and After Socialism. Her book Television Socialism is forthcoming from Duke UP.

Michael Gorham is Robin and Jean Gibson Term Professor of Russian Studies at the University of Florida, Associate Editor of The Russian Review and Russian Language Journal, and the author of two books on language culture and politics: the recently published After Newspeak: Language Culture and Politics in Russia from Gorbachev to Putin (Cornell U.P. 2014) and the award-winning Speaking in Soviet Tongues: Language Culture and the Politics of Voice in Revolutionary Russia (Northern Illinois University Press, 2003). He also recently co-edited one of the first collected volumes dedicated entirely to Russian new media culture, Digital Russia: The Language, Culture, and Politics of New Media Communication (with Ingunn Lunde and Martin Paulsen, Routledge, 2014).

Peter Mörtenböck is Professor of Visual Culture at the Vienna University of Technology and visiting researcher at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where he has initiated the Networked Cultures project (www., a platform for global research on collaborative art and architecture practices. His current work explores the interaction of such practices with resource politics, global economies and urban transformation.

Helge Mooshammer is director of the international research projects Relational Architecture and Other Markets ( at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Vienna University of Technology. He is currently a Research Fellow in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His research is concerned with changing forms of urban sociality arising from processes of transnationalisation, capital movements, informal economies, and newly emerging regimes of governance.

Mörtenböck and Mooshammer have published numerous essays on contemporary art, bottom-up urbanism and collaborative forms of spatial production, including in Grey Room, Architectural Research Quarterly and Third Text. Recent books include Visual Cultures as Opportunity (2015), Informal Market Worlds: The Architecture of Economic Pressure / Atlas and Reader (2015), OCCUPY: Räume des Protests (2012), Space (Re) Solutions: Intervention and Research in Visual Culture (2011), and Networked Cultures: Parallel Architectures and the Politics of Space (2008).

Zala Volcic teaches at Pomona College. Her work explores the relationships between media, nationalism, gender, collective memory, and politics.

Cristina Ampatzidou is a researcher and writer with a background in Architecture and Urbanism and a founder of Amateur Cities. Currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Groningen on the topic of gaming and urban complexity, Cristina is also a regular contributor to urbanism and architecture magazines and a collaborator of the Architecture Film Festival of Rotterdam.