The Ambiguity of Subversion

Resistance through Radio Broadcasting

in Theoria
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  • 1 University of Edinburgh, UK gvogler@exseed.ed.ac.uk
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Abstract

This article explores subversion as a practice of resistance and draws on the example of subversive radio for illustration. Radio became an important site of power struggles in the twentieth century, often placed in the service of both resistance and oppression. An examination of subversive acts in radio broadcasting, I argue, helps shift the focus away from the myths of heroic resistance, directing attention to the uncertainties encountered by the subversive actor. To make this argument, I build on Frantz Fanon's influential work on the resistant potential of radio and engage with literature on subversion and everyday resistance. The article illustrates the ambiguity of subversion on the case study of Radio Bantu, a broadcaster of ethnic-specific radio programmes established by the South African apartheid regime.

Contributor Notes

Gisli Vogler teaches sociology and politics at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on contemporary social and political thought, with an emphasis on conceptualising and evaluating distinctly human responses to the problems of late modernity. His recent publications contributed to debates on power and judgement and his current work has turned to the connection between human relationality and ableism. E-mail: gvogler@exseed.ed.ac.uk ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7787-2876

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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