The Construction of Symbolic Power: Comparing Offline and Online Media Representations of Occupy the Street in Spain

Leonarda García-Jiménez, Rocío Zamora-Medina, Rebeca Martínez-Fernández


This article is an analysis of the contexts and discourses constructed around the social movement “Occupy the Street” in Spain (aka M15). This research shows the Movement’s symbolic counterpower—its capacity for defining social reality—and its resistance to the status quo. Specifically, this study compares (1) the media representations in the newspapers, (2) the discourses expressed by the Movement in Facebook, and (3) the conversations of citizens under the hashtag #M12M15 in Twitter. In total, we analyzed 1,088 units of raw data (187 pieces of news, 90 posts, and 811 tweets). The analysis of these three discourses illustrates the social movement’s image. The paper concludes that M15’s symbolic power was to manage the citizens’ discontent while framing a specific historical context through mass mobilizations.


social movements, symbolic power, social construction, discourse

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