The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism

THE MARKETING OF REBELLION: INSURGENTS, MEDIA, AND INTERNATIONAL ACTIVISM, Cambridge University Press, 2005

10 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2006

Abstract

How do a few Third World conflicts become international causes célèbres, while most remain isolated and unknown? Why, for instance, has there been so much recent attention to the Darfur crisis — but so little to ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite vastly more casualties in the latter than in the former? "The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism" rejects the view that those who gain such support are simply the lucky winners in a "global humanitarian lottery." It also rejects the idea that there is a "meritocracy of suffering" in which the worst-off groups gain the most support. Instead, I argue that conflicts, and the insurgent groups involved in them, face a Darwinian struggle for scarce media attention, NGO activism, and international concern. In this competition, the lion's share of resources go to the savviest, not the neediest. The book presents a theory of how insurgent groups raise international awareness and match themselves to the interests and concerns of powerful international audiences. Key factors include interactions with the international media, framing, and leadership skills. The book covers numerous examples spanning conflicts in Tibet, Sudan, and elsewhere. In addition, the book tests and applies the theory through systematic comparative analysis of matched Mexican and Nigerian insurgencies - both successes and failures in the quest for international support. Published by Cambridge University Press, The Marketing of Rebellion won the 2006 International Studies Association Best Book Award and the Scholarly Achievement Award of the North Central Sociological Association. It was also named a Top Book of 2006 by The Globalist.

Keywords: social movements, leadership, insurgency, human rights, marketing, rebellion, media, NGOs, nongovernmental organizations, globalization, activism, environmentalism, corporate social responsibility, Zapatistas, EZLN, Royal Dutch/Shell, Tibet, Ogoni, Nigeria, Mexico

JEL Classification: M30, M31, M37, M39, Z00, O55, O56, O19, O29, K34

Suggested Citation

Bob, Clifford, The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism. THE MARKETING OF REBELLION: INSURGENTS, MEDIA, AND INTERNATIONAL ACTIVISM, Cambridge University Press, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=907725

Clifford Bob (Contact Author)

Duquesne University ( email )

600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
United States

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