Theorizing the enactment of mediatized environmental conflict

Brett Hutchins, Libby Lester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary mediatized environmental conflict involves complex interactions between (i) activist strategies and campaigns, (ii) journalism practices and news reporting, (iii) formal politics and decision-making processes, and (iv) industry activities and trade. This article theorizes how these interactions occur, drawing on evidence produced by a nine-year period of investigation into environmental media practices, content and technologies. Indicative of power dynamics in a globalized world, mediatized environmental conflict is enacted by the events and negotiations that occur at the switching points between the four identified spheres of action. The conflicting messages, representations, debates, and practices that dynamically constitute these switching points are how environmental conflicts are contested, bringing together interlocking networks of media, political, and economic power. These networks traverse the local, national, and transnational in varying degrees depending on the particular issue or site in question. The groups and decision-makers who exercise greatest influence in the midst of conflict are those able to determine what is made visible to opponents and wider publics, meaning that both mediated visibility and invisibility are important strategic resources in battles over the environment conducted in media saturated social worlds. (c) The Author(s) 2015 Reprints and permissions:
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337 - 358
Number of pages22
JournalThe International Communication Gazette
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Environmental activism
  • environmental journalism
  • environmental media
  • environmental politics
  • mediated visibility
  • mediatized conflict
  • switching points

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