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Low Power to the PeoplePirates, Protest, and Politics in FM Radio Activism$
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Christina Dunbar-Hester

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028127

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028127.001.0001

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Geeks, Activists, and Countercultures

(p.21) 2 Selfhoods
Low Power to the People

Christina Dunbar-Hester

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses how radio activists formed close and complex relationships with radio technology. It argues that they constructed geek, activist, and countercultural identities around radio technology. Rather than existing as stable or inherent categories, these identities functioned as social tools; they were resources on which the activists drew. These identities shaped how activists formulated meaning around activism and technical work, with varying consequences. They were also used to enrollmembers of the public into media activism and technical engagement. The chapter introduces the radio station “barnraising,” a major site of symbolic practice for the radio activists in which activists and volunteers worked to put a new station on the air over a weekend.

Keywords:   technical identity, geek identity, activist identity, countercultural identity, Appropriate Technology, expertise, participatory culture, hackers, Low-power FM (LPFM), ethnography

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