Dissent events: protest, the media, and the political gimmick in Australia

Sean Scalmer

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This book examines the changing connections between collective action and the media in terms of five processes: translation; staging; diffusion; theory; and direct engagement with the media. The book’s five chapters take up each of these processes in turn. While all of the processes are evident across the period there is, nonetheless, a broad historical movement over the course of the text from the importation of the political gimmick to its sustained production, diffusion, interpretation and eventual extension. That is, if the history of the political gimmick does not unfold like a simple biography, there remains a clear historical logic to its impact and development. This is a history still very much in formation, as political improvisations continue apace, and combinations of the ‘new’ electronic media and older theatrical performance result in still uncertain political changes. The final chapter addresses this contemporary change. It includes a detailed investigation of the impact of the Internet and an analysis of how new movements of the Right and Left have sought to enhance the scope and force of theatrical political behaviour. The book moves from the invention of the political gimmick to the very recent invention of the ‘cyberbattle’. Ephemeral, apparently trivial, perpetually in danger of incorporation, the political gimmick also emerges as an important political resource, a previously hidden contributor to contemporary social history, and a dynamic that has helped to reshape Australian politics, society and knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSydney, Australia
PublisherUNSW Press
ISBN (Print)9780585438948
Publication statusPublished - 2002


Dive into the research topics of 'Dissent events: protest, the media, and the political gimmick in Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this