Beyond Prime Time Activism: Communication Activism and Social Change, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Beyond Prime Time Activism

Communication Activism and Social Change, 1st Edition

By Charlotte Ryan, Karen Jeffreys


266 pages | 47 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-03-28
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In this accessible introduction to communication activism, organizer Karen Jeffreys and sociologist Charlotte Ryan draw on more than two decades of ongoing collaboration, using the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless (RICH) as a case study.

The book examines a community with shared values, decision-making, and conflict resolution procedures, tracking its organizing strategy and matched communication plan. The authors first describe a communication campaign during the welfare reform battles (1990–1995) in which they began to practice communication activism. In ongoing work with two organizations over the next two decades, they distil a model of communication activism that draws directly from vibrant traditions of empowerment communication in U.S. social movements and movements from the Global South.

Beyond Prime Time Activism provides students and researchers with an invaluable look at contemporary activism practices and with practical tools tried and tested in two decades of social movement engagement. This book is ideal for anyone participating in social change movements or studying how they navigate communication and media inequalities.

Table of Contents

Part I - Conceptual Models

Chapter 1 - Communication Activism: The Positions from which We Speak

Chapter 2 - Public Communication Models

Chapter 3 - Introduction Communication Activism for Social Change

Part 2 - Strategic Communication Practices

Chapter 4 - Change is a collective noun: Forming a learning community

Chapter 5 - From organizing strategy to communication strategy - and back

Chapter 6 - Framing stories

Chapter 7 - Everyone is a communicator: Matching audiences, venues, and messengers

Part 3 - Communication Activism for the Long Haul

Chapter 8 - Collaborative research: Assessing communication impact

Chapter 9 - Movement building on a shoe string and a banana peel: Learning communities in coalitions and internships

Chapter 10 - Building sustained relationships in a digitalizing communication climate

Chapter 11 - Conclusion: Unresolved and emerging challenges

About the Authors

Charlotte Ryan teaches at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and codirects the Media Research Action Project (MRAP; She and Karen have worked together since 1990 in campaigns with the Coalition for Basic Human Needs (CBHN), the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV;, and RICH (

Rhode-Island-based Karen Jeffreys is a lifelong social justice organizer who specializes in communication and movement building. She has collaborated with groups organizing around social services, housing and homelessness, domestic violence, media, and racial justice. She offers regular community strategy workshops for state and national social justice activists.

About the Series

Media and Communication Activism

The Empowerment Practices of Social Movements

Books in this series grapple with the recurring issues facing practitioners, teachers, students, and scholars of media and communication activism. Titles address challenges to communication activism as well as emancipatory practices that build culturally resonant, richly networked, multi-faceted, movement communication systems. Core series themes include: the power structures of media and communication activism; rights in the framework of media and communication activism; outcomes, learning and sustainable futures in media and communication activism.

The editors invite brief (2-3pp.) statements of interest that fall within the scope of the series.

Contact for informal enquiries before submission of statements of interest:

Claudia Magallanes Blanco: [email protected]

Alice Mattoni: [email protected]

Charlotte Ryan: [email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Advocacy
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies