Contestation, a Deeper Seduction


media event

How to Cite

Zuurbier, P. (2014). Contestation, a Deeper Seduction. Stream: Interdisciplinary Journal of Communication, 5(1), 45–57.


Individual media events, from the extraordinary to the mundane, as well as the logic they present, have transcended society. Media events no longer happen in isolation, they are intertextually and extratextually linked and mixed together. The ability to view, create, join in, and affect the shape of media events has caused a profound shift in the conception of what they are. What Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz refer to as individual media events, Guy Debord, Michel Foucault and Douglas Kellner consider collectively as spectacle. Their work on media events and spectacle features a debate on the role of contestation within it. Live audience members have an opportunity to impact media events and the spectacle either through individual or collective action. This action can go along with the intents ascribed to the media event and spectacle, or it can oppose them. Contestation often takes the form of an oppositional interruption of the linear messaging promoted within media events and spectacle. Contestation is typically a strategy used by voices that feel marginalized by the images of the spectacle. But contestation of media events and spectacle through their own logic becomes a means of deeper seduction.