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This article reports a research project concerned with Information War (Robins and Webster, 1999; Webster 2003, 2006; Pickerill and Webster 2006). It stresses that, in privileged areas of the world, war is now fought generally at a distance, with little direct risk to citizens of these nations. Yet these populations experience war in much expanded mediated ways, so much so that perceptions of threat may be disproportionate during a period of declining armed conflict. The significance of mediation in war is thereby heightened, making this central to the conduct of Information War.
The article highlights ways in which war now operates in an information environment that appears increasingly `chaotic’ (McNair 2006), being pervasive, instantaneous, massively expanded, highly unpredictable and continuous. This situation subverts approaches to information and communication that operate with traditional models of media control (Tumber and Webster 2006).
It focuses on an under-researched dimension of Information War, the social movements today that coalesce as the anti-war and peace movement. It reports empirical work from the United Kingdom where anti-war and peace movements operate with a range of new media and develop coalitions from diverse constituencies. It is suggested that an `alternative information environment’ may be created by opponents of war, as they participate in symbolic struggles to persuade people of opposition to war.
The article identifies key features of new media, drawing attention to common features as well as to particular dimensions of the anti-war and peace movement’s use of ICTs. It examines ways in which the anti-war and peace movements use new media to frame, contest and amplify information about contemporary war. It traces ways in which new media allow innovation in campaigns as well as identify continuities amongst groups involved in what is a diverse movement (e.g. maintaining the established political practices of particular groups; expressing long- held values in form and content of websites).
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- Campaigning in a Changing Information Environment: The Anti-war and Peace Movement in Britain
- Springer Netherlands
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