Offer IIMs mass communication

Department of Political and Social Sciences


Protocol from November 17, 2006

"Subversion in the Media"

After a brief introduction to the definition of mass communication, the guest speaker Max begins his lecture on

Topic: Habermas: Structural Change in the Public

(See slides)


Habermas is quoted a lot, but was he also read? That is rather difficult, because Habermas writes very cumbersome.

Public as a term is difficult to grasp, it means above all: free access in a material and spiritual sense.

From the Greek city-state to the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages there was actually no public. Habermas determines one thing: the representative public (the castle communicates wealth to the outside world).

The public in the Middle Ages is more marginalized than in the Greek city-state, because in the Middle Ages only the ruling class (princes, nobility, clergy) had access to the public.

... to the bourgeois public

Private autonomy arises, i.e. an autonomy from state intervention. Above all, this serves the advancement of trade (guilds, guilds). Approved (not really supported) by those in power. There was freedom of contract.

The literary public arises in the coffee houses. For the first time, economically disadvantaged people also have access (not dependent on status). With the spread of the literary public in the media, it gains in power and influence, pressure on the rulers builds up, there is a duty of legitimation.

The literary public becomes political and makes demands.

then: there is a mixture of state and civil public.

Public in the mass democracies

Criticism of the mass media and mass media society because not everyone is or can be part of the public.

Criticism of the interest groups that stand between "normal people" and the state or the like. E.g. car drivers think roads are too bad, instead of going to the Minister of Transport, he directs his complaint to the ADAC. Too little critical potential in the "common man".



According to Habermas, the public always has something to do with power. The proletarians, for example, do not have the means to change the system and are therefore not involved in the public sphere.

Habermas is a fan of the bourgeois public. The public in the coffee houses corresponds to his ideal of an active, independently thinking, factually informed person. The better argument counts ...

Habermas would like to transfer his ideal of the bourgeois public to society as a whole. His ideal should be the yardstick.

After the time of the coffee house public, only decay ...

Habermas ignores e.g. the internet (no range, no power, only exchange of information / goods). See Plake, Jansen, Schuhmacher: Public and Counter-Public and Internet, Wiesbaden 2001, 35ff. (including PuK-Bib: Z886).

Habermas restricts himself to the public mediated by the media and thus excludes a large part of society. Habermas also neglects sub-publics because for him the public serves as the basis for democracy and contributes to the legitimation of the system.

Is the coffee house public a kind of lobby?

No unrestricted access to the ideal coffee house public because these requirements must be met:

... financial independence

... Time

... access to information

... intellectual and rhetorical skills to be able to argue

When it comes to access, Habermas' ideal falls short!


Thesis: Would communism, if everyone had the same power, realize the ideal of the ordinary public?

No, because ...

  • an ideology is already set
  • free access to the information is rather not guaranteed
  • a critical public is rather undesirable
  • there are still hierarchies

If not communism, what then? We prefer anarchist systems ...

Thesis: Could the ideal be found in a worldwide weblog to which everyone has access?

No, we don't have time to read everything!

Closing word

Habermas makes a proposal for defining the public. But that is only one of many perspectives.

The public arises at random corridor encounters, in the theater, ...; there are staged publics, not only in the media, ... and so on ...

Recommended reading: Burkart, Roland: Kommunikationstheorien, Vienna 2004. (PuK-Bib e.g. LB3b or A5645d)



Public vs. counter-public:


  • Holders of state power must allow insight into their actions and make decisions transparent.
  • The public must be able to develop freely without interference and regulation.
  • Private interests must take second place in favor of the common good.
  • The people must be equally capable of conducting disputes in terms of form and content.

Habermas sees in the power of institutions, in particular, their private, predominantly economic interests to be passed off as public interests, and in the increasing possibilities of the state to intervene, the "structural change of the public" is given.


At least since the advent of book printing, the public in Central Europe has always been the media public. The Halle-based media and communication scientist Reinhold Viehoff describes the public as "the place and forms of [...] democratic and moral media discourses [...] in which and through private individuals arguably emphasize important common interests". In the context of media studies, the term thus finds its modern meaning. In today's understanding, the public initially seems to mean something that is neither private nor secret; however, this feature is not undisputed either. For Plake, tendencies towards the dissolution of the "bourgeois intimate sphere" or towards "informalization" indicate that the private has become "capable of agendas" and is "no longer available as an antipole to the public". Instead of the demarcation from privacy, Plake suggests three characteristics of the concept of the public, namely

  • "Operations of general interest",
  • "Communication aimed at everyone"
  • "Accessibility of rooms, places [...] and institutionalized areas".

Since these models are based on the assumption that public opinion has been largely manipulated, differing opinions can only be articulated in a counter-public sphere.

In general, it can be said that the term counter-public is just as poorly defined as the public. Everyone speaks of it, but no one can give an exact definition. The term is not explained in either the "Fischer Lexikon" or the "Duden". Following Habermas, Stamm speaks of an "opposite term to a public manipulated by mass media and political authorities".

Negt and Kluge define this term as a work and communication context that is directed against the existing public in terms of content, form and function. You also refer to this as the "proletarian public". This term is difficult, however, because class relationships are becoming more and more blurred in modern societies.


The concept of the counter-public was introduced in Germany in the late 1960s by SDS and APO as an instrument of media criticism and was taken up again in the early 1980s by the alternative and ecological movements as well as by various citizens' initiatives. Counter-public means "primarily a policy, a social practice with emancipatory goals" and usually includes a criticism of the ruling public; Counter-public are "activities to disseminate information and opinions that [...] try to draw the attention of the population to largely neglected, but nonetheless important to the general public". A counter-public arises "where the established, unwritten or factual rules of the ruling public are exceeded in order to make it possible to say what cannot be said in the ruling public". Plake differentiates between the "alternative public that uses self-initiated means of publication" and the "campaign public that induces traditional media to point out connections that lie beyond their usual range of content".

According to the definition of the "information service for the dissemination of missed news", the counter-public "starts at the bottom": the slogan on the wall, posters and banners at a demonstration, etc. Ultimately, it leaves the private sphere and uses all media and forms of communication. In this context, counter-public always means an alternative way of handling the media. According to Röder, it is not a medium but the type of use that is alternative, which is not only reflected in form and content, but also in the design and the general functional context.

For Röder this results in the following characteristics of the counter-public in the press:

  • Reproduction of neglected, suppressed or falsified information and contexts by bourgeois media.
  • Breaking the one-way character of mass communication.
  • Emancipatory organization and working method.
  • Independence from parties and organizations.

Eurich adds:

  • New ways in language and design are desirable
  • Dissolution of a strictly departmental subdivision

In general, a structural change can also be seen in the counter-public. After attempts were initially made to get the public's attention through spectacular actions or demonstrations, this changed from the mid-1970s. In-house media production was strengthened. In the course of this development, the "private" also became increasingly political and was articulated in the numerous local papers but also in shared apartments, local shops, pubs, etc. (according to the "authentic public" tribe). However, this counter-public lacked a theoretical superstructure, so that discussions across society could only be triggered with difficulty. Only with the strengthening of the peace and citizens' initiatives will attempts be made again to create access to the public. The focus here, however, was to remedy or criticize individual grievances and not to present a social alternative. In the course of the 80s this leads to institutionalization (e.g. "The Greens") and to professionalization (e.g. city magazines).

The development of the counter-public in Germany is very closely related to the so-called "Alternative press" connected. This developed on the basis of already existing small literary magazines and self-publishers on a larger scale from 1968. The alternative press of the US civil rights movement served as a model (e.g. "Los Angeles Free Press"). In addition to newspapers, more and more small political publishers were founded, which in particular published texts on Marxism and other left theories. The "main opponent" of this young alternative press was the Springer group (including the "expropriated Springer" campaign). The first regional publications were "Aktion", "Spartacus" or "APO-Press". The idea of ​​founding a supraregional left-wing daily newspaper soon arose. Until the mid-1970s, the number of publications as scene papers, people papers, city and district newspapers rose steadily. These are characterized by a wide variety of political positions and ideas. From the newspapers of the so-called. The spectrum ranged from "K groups" ("Rote Fahne", "Arbeiterkampf"), which have to be viewed critically due to their party-political orientation, from purely regional information sheets to newspapers with a special focus (environment, anti-nuclear etc.). As a result of the news blackout in the autumn of 1977 (plane hijacking Mogadishu, suicide by the RAF terrorists in Stammheim), the national left-wing daily newspapers "Die Neue" and "die Tageszeitung (taz)" were founded a year later. While "Die Neue" had a much more professional standard from the start and its organization was also based on the established press, the "taz" relied on a model of self-administration and an abolition of the division of labor between editorial staff and technology. Both could not achieve their circulation numbers as desired. "Die Neue" had to file for bankruptcy as early as 1982 and "taz" is still struggling with financial problems to this day.

Question: To what extent does the "taz" still live up to its former standards today?



Eurich, Claus [ed.]: Social theory and media system: interdisciplinary approaches to the relationship between media, journalism and society / Claus Eurich (ed.). - Münster [et al.]: Lit, 2002. - 140 pp. - 3-8258-6354-9. - (Media; 2) PuK A8338.

Plake, Klaus: Public and Counter-Public on the Internet: Political Potentials of Media Development / Klaus Plake; Daniel Jansen; Birgit Schuhmacher. - 1st ed. - Wiesbaden: Westdt. Verl., 2001. - 199 p. - 3-531-13673-9 PuK Z 886.

Röder, Klaus: The so-called counter-public using the example of alternative newspapers / by Klaus Röder, 1978. - 102 p. PuK MA 193.

Schwarz, Martin: 20 years of Zitty: on the structural change of the counter-public using the example of a city magazine / submitted by Martin Schwarz, 1998. - 113, XIV S. PuK MA 1471.

Stamm, Karl-Heinz: Alternative public: the experience production of new social movements. - Frankfurt [inter alia]: Campus-Verl., 1988. - 304 pp. - 3-593-33948-X PuK A5204.

Stamm, Karl-Heinz: Structural and formal change of the alternative public since the student revolt: the public production of new social movements, 1988. - 304 S. UB 88/88/60470 (6).

Waldmann, Doris: Counter-public in the Federal Republic of Germany: Development and conception of alternative newspapers / submitted by Doris Waldmann, 1984. - 81 p. PuK MA 1257.

Further reading:

Diederich, Axel: ID archive: Memory project: ID article on the subject of counter-public; 1973 - 81 / [Ed .: ID archive in the International Institute for Social History (IISG), Amsterdam. Position d. Contribution: Axel Diederich ...]. - 2nd ed. . - Amsterdam, 1990. - 120 pp. - (Missed News Dissemination Information Service) OSI Co56 <2>.

Hoffmann, Martin [Ed.]: ID archive: Black texts: political censorship in the FRG; 1968 until today against left-wing bookstores, publishers, magazines and printers; Documents of the counter-public / Ed .: ID archive in the International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam. [Text compilation and chronology: Martin Hoffmann]. - 2nd ed. . - Amsterdam, 1990. - 162 pp. - (documents, analyzes, discussions) OSI Cl 583 <2> <4.o>

Lovink, Geert [Hrsg.]: Netzkritik: Material zur Internet-Debatte / Nettime (ed.). Selected and zsgest. by Geert Lovink and Pit Schultz. Translated from the English by Bettina Seifried and Florian Rötzer. - 1st ed. - Berlin: Ed. ID archive, 1997. - 221 pages: Ill., Graph. Darst. - 3-89408-060-4 UB 18/98/4001 (3).

Robbins, Bruce [ed.]: The phantom public sphere / ed. By Bruce Robbins. - Minneapolis, Minn. [among others]: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1993. XXVI, 310 pp.: Ill. - 0-8166-2124-1. - (Cultural politics; 5). - 0-8166-2126-8 UB 18/94/3268 (5).

Holert, Tom [ed.]: Mainstream of the minorities: Pop in the control society / Tom Holert ... (ed.). - 2nd ed. . - Berlin [and others]: Ed. ID archive, 1997. - 190 p. - 3-89408-059-0 PhilBib SFB AVL 784.

Hakim Bey: T.A.Z. T.A.Z. : the temporary autonomous zone / Hakim Bey. - 1st ed. - Berlin ; Amsterdam: Ed. ID archive, 1994. - 161 p. - 3-89408-039-6. - 3-89408-039-4 OSI MA 95/761.

Lovink, Geert: Listen - or die! : Fragments of a Theory of Sovereign Media / Geert Lovink. - Berlin ; Amsterdam: Ed. ID archive, 1992. - 89 pp.: Ill.. - 3-89408-402-2 UB 88/92/28181 (7).

Oy, Gottfried: The community of lies: media and public criticism of social movements in the Federal Republic / Gottfried Oy. - 1st ed. - Münster: Verl. Westfälisches Dampfboot, 2001. - 292 p. - 3-89691-704-8. - (Critical Theory and Cultural Research; 4) PuK A7677.

Minutes from November 24th, 2005

Minutes of the meeting on November 24, 2005


Topic: Counter-public in print media




Counter-public, like public, is difficult to define

  • too open at Spehr for this to mean concrete social practice

E.g. looting housewives = counter-public?

When does counter-public become public?


Historical view


Tretyakov: Don't agitate the masses, but involve them in the creative process

Benjamin: "new" media lead to democratization

Adorno, Horkheimer: pessimistic view,

Media create publicity through propaganda (culture industry)

Counter-public has to act differently

→ regenerative phase (not work, but leisure): manipulation and

Shutdown by mass media

Goofing down evokes joy → mass fraud

60s / 70s: The term "counter-public" is coined

"Sometime in 1967 we started talking about counter-publicity" (quote from a contemporary witness, read from Stamm)

Negt / Kluge: rational information instead of manipulation is not enough to act differently (contrary to the mainstream)

→ make it tangible for yourself (personal reference)

→ show other options for action

Counter-public = let the "bourgeois" public be what is own / new

→ do not produce a pseudo public

→ without action, no revolution

"Expropriated Springer" → and then?

There were no options for action afterwards

not just criticize, but do something

→ "collective experience"


70s: the taz was also founded

Talk shows: everyone can say something → openly

Subjects? what is / is not counter-public?

then goes over to "civil" public

private topics → change media reception

Hall: Decoding moment: decision


Good Bad

→ the text does not specify that

→ The media suggest this and want to influence

(you can still read differently)

critical / uncritical point of view

Cultural Studies: Individuals should be able to decide freely

affirmative reception of left-wing propaganda possible in democracy

→ can backfire



Can the public become counter-public again?

  • in totalitarian regimes
  • Resurrecting the story of creation


Media reality influencing public opinion (s)




  • just because I disagree, I am not against the public
  • social movement necessary!

(Flyer → Perception possible → Framework accessible to many!)


  • In our opinion, Spehr falls short
  • whole range of counter-public not taken into account


Foucault: social reality through discourses ≠ power-free space

Discourse through exclusions



Counter-public: Issues are addressed

→ from people who don't know anything

→ in places where there is no other talk


Communication guerrilla

→ political context (possibly also artistic)

Disturb / confuse "cultural grammar of communication"

  • clap in inappropriate places
  • say something even if no one has asked
  • shock
  • To question the "normal"

modern art → artistic (possibly political)

Art ↔ communication guerrilla ≠ form of expression of art

Advertising ↔ communication guerrilla → alienation, deconstruction


Counter-public uses new media → institutionalized

  • not only "medial communication"
  • just one step
  • behind this is social practice

→ Only then does counter-publicity make sense

→ must reach politically acting recipients

Does the counter-public create publicity?

Counter-public ↔ campaign public (e.g. through NGOs)

↓ ↓

alternatively within the scene

  • feminist public


Multi-layered counter-public

e.g. EZLN → positive example, non-hierarchical, emancipatory

Solidarity around the world

less struggle, more political discourse

new: - Power should not be conquered

- Revolt against power structures

→ no power for anyone!

when goal is achieved, guerrillas are disbanded

- recognize other points of view

- Fights should be linked

- Networking "multiple counter-publics"

- stay self-critical

here: counter-public → other social struggles

→ military, emancipatory, social practice is behind the action in Chiapas

→ Don't just talk, do something for people

Dealing with media and power

→ for own purposes

  • controlled counter-public / public?
  • social context
  • Subjectivity of the recipient → everything gives nothing

The public wants objectification, de-individualization

→ Counter-public works against it


"Sensational journalism" "Concern journalism"


own experience


Outlook: indymedia,, information service for missing messages


"Counter-public" from the HKWN (historical-critical dictionary of Marxism)

Minutes from December 1st, 2005

Counter-public on the radio: Presentation by Tom


1. pirate station:

people tinker with their own transmitter, use their own frequency or broadcast illegally as a jamming transmitter over an already assigned frequency (e.g. when the house project yorck59 was cleared). Instructions for this can be found on the internet;).

on the historical development of pirate channels: the first p. channels emerged in the 60s and 70s and did not have mainly a political claim, but mainly played music that was not heard on the public broadcasters (back then there were no private ones) ("bad beat music"). it was broadcast often from the north sea. In the meantime, however, political information is also being sent via p.sender (for example, on this year's May 8th in Berlin by "usb"). some people who started at p.sendern later became famous, e.g. john peel who was later with the bbc.

In the beginning, radio was still a relatively free medium. in the usa around a quarter of broadcasters were non-commercial. was broadcast in a more local context. radio was also an interactive medium, many used their own small transmitters from home - similar to radio. Gradually, the still new medium was regulated. so frequencies were distributed by the state. this made the pirate broadcasters illegal. this leads to problems: it can only be broadcast within a limited time frame, as the channels have to be quickly dismantled before the "illegal" channels can be found. In addition, a p transmitter has a short range. In Germany it is super expensive to get your own frequency and to operate radio "regularly" and "legally". The radio market is particularly competitive in Berlin.


2. open channel:

the demarcation to free radios (see below) is not clear. open channels (oks) are not commercial, they claim to be open and self-determined. this is where groups are heard that are suppressed in the "bourgeois media". oks are always financed by state media authorities and have permanent employees. in principle, all can send contributions. there is no fixed transmission schedule. In a so-called "queue", contributions are simply sent in the order in which they are received. the ok is not strictly controlled, the incoming contributions are only briefly examined. so it was also possible to broadcast neo-Nazis at okb (open channel berlin) ("radio germania",


3. free radios:

the demarcation to pirate channels is not so great in terms of content, but free radio (fr) is more political. frs mostly offer full programs. they broadcast legally on a normal frequency, mostly in the urban area and the surrounding area. all frs have in common that they do not send advertising.

example: fsk (free sender Kombinat) hamburg: has a strong left-wing tradition and emerged in the early 90s from the radio hafenstrasse (radical left-wing pirate station of the hamburg squatter movement) hamburg was more liberal before schill, so fsk was given its own frequency. the radio market is also not as competitive as in berlin. fsk is completely self-financed through a sponsorship model (sponsoring association with approx. 1000 members paying at least 5 eur / month). therefore the statutory anchoring of free radios in the state media law is not necessary. In order to get the frequency, however, the fsk had to make political concessions, so the broadcaster is now oriented more towards the left. many employees were previously at fk hamburg. The politicians then got fed up and went to the fsk. the fsk is more political than the open channel, there are fewer hierarchies (organized according to grassroots democracy, consensus procedures for decisions). the cooperation is free of charge. there is a greater degree of control over the selection of contributions than with the ok and therefore a fixed program structure and its own profile (political orientation). The fsk does not advertise anywhere except in the printed program booklet.

there are also other free radios that have similar concepts, e.g. radio dreiecksland (from the 70s, pirate station from freiburg), the oldest fr, which is financed through a support association.

there is also a federal association of free radios. there are 31 channels and campaign members here.

rather different concepts of free radios have e.g. radio x or radio z. they also send political information, but mainly music. other entertainment formats are used here rather than in commercial channels, but there are also some similarities.

Free radios are heavily promoted in Hessen. they are provided for in the state media law (lmg) and receive start-up funding. grants of up to eur 66,000 per year are possible.

reasons why there is no fr in berlin: there is no legal requirement for frs, although the lmg could also be interpreted differently. here it is argued that the open channel already fulfills the task that a fr would otherwise fulfill. the mabb (medienanstalt berlin brandenburg) does not allow free radio, since brandenburg has no interest in it, since a fr would probably only be broadcast in berlin and the surrounding area. on the other hand, there is (still) no conclusive concept for a fr. the different interest groups cannot be reconciled. so "the left" is split and the art and music scene doesn't fit in either.

Nevertheless, there were pilot projects on 104.1. now twen fm has got the frequency that has no advertising, but propagates digital radio. twen fm was also involved in the berlin radio campaign for a free radio, but it was "too political" for them.



Minutes from December 15, 2005

Autonomous Seminar: Subversion in the Media, January 5th, 2006

Counter-public on the Internet ?!

News portal that creates an alternative public

global, but decentralized

Sender = recipient (anonymous)

No selection of news and / or opinions, there is only a moderation. This is done alternately by different moderation collectives. Every sender or recipient can join one of these non-centralized moderation collectives or found one themselves (contact can be made via email). The only "selection" is made according to the moderation criteria worked out by consensus, do not tolerate sexism, fascism, racism, homophobia. The requirement for a low level of hierarchy is therefore implemented here.

Access restrictions: Internet access, media literacy.

Live reporting is possible.

Visits per day (indymedia Germany): 5000-10000, sometimes (with certain events) up to 30,000.

Principle like indymedia with the function of an encyclopedia

Corrections to the contributions are made by other recipients

At the moment there are efforts to put a static wikipedia on the net (and in the book trade?)

does not live up to the claim to be like indymedia

confusing, not so open

centralized (Brigittenstr. 5, Hamburg-Eimsbüttel), there is probably an editorial office, as the contributions are sent in via e-mail or online form.

Independence from a party is questionable, as an online Junge Welt subscription is offered on the site.

Internet search engine for Berlin's left-wing scene, including a left-hand collection.


More links:

http://www.stress (calendar of events for Berlin) (see meeting on December 15, 2005)


Two issues about the Internet


  1. Who controls the internet?
  2. Digital gap between rich and poor

To 1.

Even after the summit in Tunis, control remains with the US Department of Commerce, which has commissioned the Icaan. A control by the UN was refused. There are two bodies that make non-binding recommendations to the Icaan.

The Icaan has 13 servers, four in California, six near Washington, one each in Stockholm, London, and Tokyo. The Icaan administers the domain names and has the option of disconnecting an entire country from the network and interrupting email traffic.

The countries concerned at the moment will probably be able to part with the control sovereignty of the USA at some point (with increasing technical development). See Europeans attempted to separate from GPS

To 2.

The summit was primarily intended to address this issue, but in the end it dealt more with Issue 2.

The ideas of the "100 dollar laptop" and the "sense computer" (symbols replace letters, reading is no longer a prerequisite for using a computer) were up for debate. Neither of these can be solutions; first of all, provide basic education and technical requirements (telephone, electricity).

Funny: Picture of the $ 100 crank-drive laptop.

Small conclusion

Potential of the G.öff. on the internet is restricted:

  • Flood of data, unmanageable information
  • Anonymity (see effect of a personal conversation)

However, a manageability is developing again and again. There are points of contact such as indymedia, which are becoming more and more popular and achieve a corresponding reach. Remember the development and enforcement of google.

PS. With google one is also linked to indymedia.




Protocol from January 12th, 2006

from counter-public to communication guerrilla to media sabotage


Counter-public as the idea of ​​enlightenment

Willingness and access to this idea must be given

Counter-public can work if reception facilities are available

if not, communication guerrillas can be used (tactics) to create them

Communication guerrilla

social analysis, structures of rule must be attacked → conscious subordination of the population

Attacking legitimacy

Tactics that confuse → wake people up

Open discourses (socially) so that the counter-public can set in (border opening) → enable a life free of domination

Different reactions

Defense position

Uninvolved people join in and get new ideas

depending on the situation, selectively

no narrow communication term, not only mass media, also face-to-face, parliament, ...

can take place anywhere

not only content, but also the form is very important

"Not only what is criticized, but how"

Breaking open patterns, otherwise only strengthening and legitimizing rule

Diversity of opinion in a democracy → Criticism possible → but only as long as within the framework (e.g. I have to be friendly and sober)

E.g. election campaign events are a mechanism (closed communication situation) - criticism can only be made when subordinate to this mechanism = communication rule

→ Overcome communication barriers


Communication guerrilla

= Uncover power relations and thereby make them criticizable

= does not have to be content

Flugis, magazines are not enough

Is communication always power and therefore sucks?

= always criticism of the power situation


"Guerilla" → from the hidden, local

→ cannot win, there is no plan for society



Guerrilla marketing: by parties or e.g. alienated advertising

always: attention through confusion

e.g. image campaign "stop BILD"


Difference → denounce power

→ use the means of the guerrillas

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as action that is free of domination

of course you want to convey something

People should think for themselves


Communication guerrilla

Diversity of interpretation, people are too different → should think for themselves

taking advantage of existing communication situations that were actually intended for something else

+ Media sabotage

- Rethinking codes, signs, situations


Counter-public communication guerrilla

(e.g. through magazines) ≠ → works little with content

→ Educational "plain text information", not intrusive

Dissemination of information → problem is addressed, but not explicitly

Example: Schröder is discredited from election posters, from "Whoever wants peace, must be steadfast" becomes: "Whoever wants to fuck must be steadfast" → without content, but made ridiculous



little statement

but always with a political background!

performative speech act

→ Action follows


→ Authority to define





of texts of all kinds (e.g. newspapers: BILD, FR)

Change and attack advertising

Camouflage technique, dressing up (e.g. well dressed at an election campaign event and then knocking left-wing extremist slogans :)

e.g. Chumbawamba (doodle pop with anarchy texts)

Over-identification: I think it's even better than everyone else

E.g. 1981 NATO double decision → NATO jubilation demo

"Do Russian children have to live forever?"

"Nuclear war - why not?"

→ Attempted distraction

"Consistently thinking through to the end"

subversive affirmation




Alienation over-identification

(Take things too literally)

Satire, parody

Troublemakers, church troublemakers

E.g. 1952 Easter mass Notre Dâme "God is dead"

international Lettrists, later situationists: causing riots

→ as a false Dominican monk in the pulpit: was almost lynched



Public and experience

Negt and Kluge

Communication guerrilla reaches many more people than the counter-public

→ appeals to a heterogeneous mass



adbusting is prohibited

CDU poster falsified by the SPD is fine

Comparative advertising is allowed

Trademark rights, copyright

Communication guerrilla is "illegal"

Protocol from 02/02/2006

Communication guerrilla methods and tactics


general for repetition:

+ break up cultural grammar

+ show everyday relationships of power and domination

+ indirect attack on institutions and everyday practices

2 basic principles:

a alienation

b Over-identification

a alienation:

+ Things called Naturally are perceived are changed

e.g. Change of election posters

-> change of reading

-> add new meaning

-> Create distance to "normality"

+ natural expectations are not met and thus broken

-> People are only fragmented subjects and there is a link!

-> KG wants to show new perspectives / alternatives -> create time for reflection

e.g .: you always have the thought that your workplace is not satisfying you

and everything about it only annoys you, but unfortunately you have to earn money to survive ...

but aren't there other options?

Action example:

+ With the SHELL, the S is removed and the wording HELL is created

-> Everyone can interpret it differently, even if certainly by the activist

went to it with a political intention

+ However, it is not the intention that everyone understands exactly the same as the activist

-> "Variability of interpretation": intentionally open interpretation ("freedom of thought"), freely based on Umberto Eco

+ Power takes place through given interpretations, so it's just one open To create space

b Over-identification

+ Looking for closeness instead of distance

+ Present taboo topics openly and massively, i.e. take them seriously at the point where

these are lapidarized / played down

+ start at break points

E.g .: increased video surveillance in public places with sayings like opposite

"Yes, we want more surveillance!

Everything is so dangerous here! What do we have to prevent terrorism! Preferably also cameras in the toilets!

It's only for our safety! "

+ only works if a person leaves the functioning, power-infused society (at least externally)

expresses in this way, if this statement comes from an "obvious leftist", it seems rather implausible

+ it got to to meet such an action a BUT, otherwise the sense / intention has not arrived

(and thus legitimizing the statement)


-> Find out hidden contradictions (breakpoints) exactly


+ subversive affirmation

+ Camouflage

+ Fake

+ Collage / montage

+ Alienation / reinterpretation


detailed protocol

detailed supplement

The principle of alienation means the subtle change in the representation of the familiar. The change should make new aspects visible and contradictions uncovered, space should be created for unfamiliar readings of ordinary events and meaning shifts should take place, normalized power relations should be uncovered:


“To intervene in a communication process with alienation means to take up existing forms, events, images and ideas and to change their normal course or their usual appearance. Such changes can initially cause a feeling of confusion, because everyone, due to their socialization within this society, has a basic knowledge of cultural grammar that pre-structures their perception [...] The resulting confusion should allow the audience, at least for the moment To take a distance from the situation: It can enable a critical look at the usual patterns of perception of facts or events. "(Handbuch 2001: 41)


The principle of alienation - détournement for the situationists - is not only a subversive and destructive method, but can also have positive effects if the moment of confusion is understood as a signpost for action that changes society, and the apparent normality is called into question. (cf. Handbuch 2001: 48) Because if, as Eco has shown, the ambiguity caused by the alienation concentrates the recipient's attention, requires interpretive effort and, if necessary, structures are reconsidered, new perspectives can open up. (see Eco 1987d: 350ff.)


In contrast, the principle means Over-identificationto position oneself consistently within the logic of the ruling order "[...] and to attack it at the point where it is most vulnerable: right in the center." (Handbuch 2001: 54) That means openly addressing socially known aspects The focus is on topics that are generally known and at the same time taboo. The over-identification with thought patterns, values ​​and norms of the prevailing logic should open the field of vision for facts and consequences that are socially suppressed. The background to this is the assumption that criticism often remains ineffective and ironic distancing may have a stabilizing rather than subversive effect. So the communication guerrilla decides to break through logic by using subversive affirmation "[...] to continue to identify with the logic of the ruling system, it more unbroken takes it more seriously than the system itself does (can do). " (Handbook 2001: 54)

Affirmation means approval of the given circumstances, the method of subversive affirmation means in Marx's sense the "[...] to force petrified relationships to dance by singing their own melody to them!" One must have the people in front of oneself frighten teach to him courage to make. "(cf. Marx 1843/44: 381, emphasis in the original): Each topic contains certain implications that are generally known, but remain unspoken and taboo. These implications are considered by the communication guerrilla as essential components of the system and The collective of authors assumes that over-identification with the system leaves those confronted with hardly any opportunity to distance themselves from it. (cf. Handbuch 2001: 56ff.) In 1977 the artist and scientist Bazon Brock wrote on the strategy of affirmation:


“Affirmative strategy confronts the explicit self-image, the legitimation of action of someone who makes a statement, with the actual consequence of his actions. As a rule, a significant contradiction will have to be uncovered. From this confrontation then follows either the abandonment of the obviously wrong legitimation for action or a self-image, or another action follows from it. "(Brock 1977)


Subversive affirmation in the sense of the communication guerrilla makes use of consent to political issues: An affirmative variant is exaggerated applause at public events, which can turn into 'cheering' or the already described demonstration of cheers. The subversive action is based on the fact that the 'wrong' people do the 'right', or the 'right', i.e. what can conventionally be expected, happens in a 'wrong' situation. According to Brock, the strategy of subversive affirmation can be found, for example, in the story of the fool - from Eulenspiegel to the captain von Köpenick to the good soldier Schwejk - whereby the figure of Schwejk stands for the combination of literal and creative interpretation of rules. (see Brock 1977)

According to the authors of the handbook, subversive affirmation is most effective when it causes an oscillating perception "[...] when the exaggeration is obvious enough that it irritates and unsettles, but remains so hidden that it cannot be clearly assigned and is identifiable. "(Handbuch 2001: 81) Above all in the case of political events that by themselves create a corresponding public, subversive affirmation gives the opportunity to attack the ongoing discussion and discredit hegemonic positions. (cf. Handbuch 2001: 82) However, the authors note that it is not easy to effectively attack hidden breakpoints by means of an exaggerated affirmation: "While an unsuccessful alienation at worst seems inconsequential, as a postmodern game without consequences, an unsuccessful over-identification can cause the opposite of what was intended." (Handbook 2001: 56f.)


The two basic principles of the communication guerrilla - alienation and over-identification - can be implemented with different methods and techniques, some of which also overlap, can be used individually or in combination and can also be expanded in the sense of a toolbox provided. (cf. Handbuch 2001: 5)

The variety of intervention and action options of the communication guerrilla and their interaction will be shown in the following using the campaign-like image pollution.


4.4. Excursus: image pollution - fake and subvertising in a campaign context

Image pollution describes a practice that is based on various communication guerilla techniques but also on the


“[...] uses militant 'Klartext'. Image pollution aims to permanently damage the reputation of a person, a group, a party, a city or a country and thus thwart those who present themselves positively (mostly at the expense of others) and with the image of a beautiful one heal world boast. This is particularly effective when third parties (e.g. consumers, vacationers or a jury) are involved whose actions or inaction could be influenced by a bad image of the 'victim' "(Handbuch 2001: 149, emphasis in the original)


Especially the concept of image pollution shows a concrete analysis of the social order and the meaning of symbolic power through the communication guerrillas, because a image is a construction of meaning of a special kind: It is a constructed fictional quantity that can be used for orientation and - when considering public relations - should also be oriented:

As Klaus Merten and Joachim Westerbarkey write from a constructivist perspective,

The image is a structured scheme that humans create from an object, especially in relation to objects (people, organizations, etc.) that cannot be used to obtain their own experience or knowledge. The image creates this as an auxiliary, so to speak, but is neither stable nor objective, but rather changeable and selective, which is why it has to be continuously changed and stabilized. In the context of public relations, in order to maintain a certain consistency, the image is supplemented by a logo, which, unlike the image, remains permanently the same. (see Merten / Wersterbarkey 1994)

The construction of images is the central task of public relations and a point of attack for the communication guerrilla. Here is the


“[...] campaign-like image pollution [...] is probably most clearly oriented towards the functioning of the mass media. It aims at their property of mass dissemination of information, trying to beat the marketing strategies of corporations, parties and governments with their own weapons. Image pollution does not only take place in the mass media, but is dependent on their involuntary complicity in order to be able to build up a negative image [...] "(Teune 2004: 70)


According to Teune, it is a method that moves explicitly on the level of symbolic power and symbolic politics and uses the logic of symbolic order, i.e. the structures of the representation of prevailing conditions and material power, on the level of signs. Polluting your image is not about acting within this order, but about directly attacking its legitimacy:


“[...] The aim of a strategy that wants to question the legitimacy of symbolic power must be to expose the contingency and arbitrariness of its claim and to break through its euphemizations. Instead of a truth that has become commensense, it substitutes a possible other. "(Teune 2004: 45)


A radical symbolic politics in the context of image pollution recognizes that the relevance of symbolism in connection with economic success is increasing, and draws the reverse conclusion that subversive politics must attack precisely there in order to try to through the - in the context of a continuous campaign - Soiling images to impair economic success (cf. autonomous afrika group 2001: 122) Using the example of the "Deportation Class" campaign, the functioning of image pollution is to be demonstrated before fake and subvertising are discussed as central techniques:

After the death of the Sudanese refugee Amir Ageeb during his deportation on board a Lufthansa flight in May 1999, the campaign "Deportation Class - Against the business of deportation", carried out by the anti-racist initiative "No man is illegal", began. This campaign to pollute the image is primarily directed against the business that airlines such as Lufthansa AG do with the deportation of refugees and has set itself the goal of exerting pressure on the Lufthansa Group until it gives up the deportation business. In return, the image of Lufthansa, which is based on the assumption that travel is fun and only serves the purpose of vacation and relaxation, is targeted by making the daily deportation practice visible - the inexpensive 'Deportation Class' is advertised instead of 'Business Class' and brought to the fore. (see autonomous a.f.r.i.k.a. group 2001)


The campaign started in 1999 with a competition to submit poster designs that deal critically with Lufthansa's deportation practice. in the

In February 2000, 30 drafts could be examined, which used the images, lettering, terms and logos of Lufthansa and exposed their deportation practice through changes and recomposition. A traveling exhibition of the posters and background information on the German deportation practice and the business of Lufthansa AG followed and was shown in numerous cities. On the basis of the diverse poster designs, fake homepages, defamatory film spots, fake Lufthansa advertisements and information brochures were created that sought to deconstruct Lufthansa's image. In addition, a wide variety of activities took place at airports, in front of travel agencies and at the annual general meetings of Lufthansa shareholders, in which "flight attendants against deportation" also took part and posed as employees of Lufthansa AG. (Cf. autonomous a.f.r.i.k.a. group 2001: 113ff.)


The entire "Deportation Class" campaign builds on the image of the Lufthansa Group and tries to use the familiar image in a different context

creative street protest, camouflage of the employee uniforms, to continuously damage the positive image of Lufthansa through an alienated advertising presence of Lufthansa AG, in public space, on the internet, on billboards etc. From the point of view of the activists, it has so far been possible to reach a broad public in the context of the extensive campaign and to draw attention to Lufthansa's joint responsibility for the German deportation practice. This is not a boycott campaign; rather, passengers and flight personnel are called upon to show moral courage and to act against deportations. This has not remained without effect so far:

The cockpit pilots' association asked its members to make sure in every single case that passengers fly voluntarily and not to transport 'passengers not willing to travel'. After the annual general meeting in 2000, the Lufthansa AG board spokesman announced that he would negotiate with the federal government about the exemption from the obligation to carry so-called "deportees". This announcement had no consequences as the negotiations have not yet taken place. (see Schneider 2000)


However, an online demonstration on the Internet portal of Lufthansa AG held at the same time as the annual general meeting on June 20, 2001 was not without consequences. The virtual protest, which had been duly registered, was supported by a total of 150 initiatives and groups from home and abroad. Over 13,000 people took part in the virtual sit-in and over 1.2 million page views meant that the Lufthansa homepage was temporarily no longer accessible. This form of internet activism, the virtual sit-in, was a transfer of non-violent blockade actions from the street to the internet, an action that met with wide media coverage.This echo can be explained by the fact that the online demonstration was linked to actions in non-virtual space, was the first online demonstration initiated in Germany, and by the fact that it had legal consequences. (cf.autonome a.f.r.i.k.a. gruppe 2005: 201f.) Because the group responded to the online demonstration with legal actions that led to fines and the temporary blocking of the campaign website. In addition, there was a lawsuit against the use of the Lufthansa-typical color combinations and the use of the lettering on the posters, since the group saw itself denounced by individual posters. (cf. Junge 2001)

From the point of view of the autonomous a.f.r.i.k.a. group, this campaign shows the "[...] diversity of the possible use of the symbols of power and consumption on posters." (Autonome afrika gruppe 2001: 115) Confronted with the special offer from Lufthansa 'Deportation Class', the recipients would have to decide whether it is with this offer


"[...] is inhuman money-making or a legitimate marketing instrument. If he / she sees through the deportation class as a fake, he / she cannot simply dismiss it as absurd slander - the logic of the narration is too close to the real Lufthansa ideology. Regardless of which reading the recipient chooses - once asked questions remain with Lufthansa. "(Autonomous a.f.r.i.k.a. group 2002: 6)


The actions and interventions in the context of the "Deportation Class" are only of a symbolic nature, but have concrete consequences, since the anti-racist image pollution, in addition to the great media coverage, has also led to a public debate about the German deportation practice (cf. Schneider 2000) autonomous africa group regards the campaign against Lufthansa, the intensity of which has decreased since 2001, as successful so far, among other things


"[...] the form of professional self-portrayal was perfectly imitated, while the meaning was turned into its opposite by being consistently exaggerated - from 'We'll fly you there' of Lufthansa to 'we'll fly you out.' Of the Deportation Class." (autonomous africa group 2002: 6)


This campaign example shows how various communication guerrilla methods can work together within such a campaign. In the case of the "Deportation Class - Against the Business of Deportation" campaign, fakes, subversive affirmation and subvertising techniques were used to pollute the image:


Here is that fake From the point of view of the author collective of the handbook a mixture of imitation, invention, alienation and exaggeration of prevailing forms of language and "[...] one of the most popular fields of activity of communication guerrillas." (Handbuch 2001: 65) A fake should imitate the voice of power as perfectly as possible, in order to be able to speak in their name and with their authority for a certain period of time. It is legitimized by the use of recognized symbols, an official letterhead or a well-known logo. As shown by the example of Lufthansa, this is done by the institution affected by the fake or Person understood as a massive attack and can lead to a denial. (Cf. Handbuch 2001: 67) Behind this technique is the intention to initiate a communication process within the mass media, which deals with the structure of the communication situation changed by the fake is about making the power relations visible. The fake unfolds "[...] its effectiveness in the course of the process that follows the discovery, in the chain of real and false denials, possibly supplemented by further fakes or forgeries. " (Handbook 2001: 65)

It is not necessarily a question of establishing counter-discourses, but of disrupting what Foucault describes as the order of the discourse, of overturning the rules of who is allowed to say what when and who is not (cf.Foucault 1993), of irritating the Consensus, as described by Eco 1978 (cf. Eco 1987b), as well as a deconstructivist questioning of the role of the mass media as the mouthpiece of political authorities.

The mass media form the sounding board for fakes, because after the publication of a fake in the media, further real and false denials can and should be published so that the media can be used subversively for other content. Fakes are therefore particularly effective in situations that are characterized by a strong power imbalance, in which it is relevant who says something and not what exactly is said:


“Apparently it is the local authorities who are doing the AIDS check. The statement and the speaker oscillate: On the one hand, the decent citizen believes in the decency of her government in matters of privacy and therefore doubts the letter; on the other hand, she may register for the AIDS test because she allows this decent government to have total control of 'public health'. "(Handbuch 2001: 67, emphasis in the original)

In the case of a fake, as with all other methods of communication guerrilla, a tension should be built up between form and content, which can cause the meaning to oscillate, because communication barriers can be overcome and attention can be achieved despite general information overload. (cf. Handbuch 2001: 64) The fake, which plays with the variability of interpretation of messages and infiltrates subversive readings into the falsified texts, is tactically based on a paradox, because on the one hand it should be as little recognizable as a fake as possible, but at the same time trigger a communication process should, in which it becomes clear that it is a matter of incorrect information. (cf. Handbuch 2001: 68)


As early as 1978, Eco put counterfeiting and its effects on cultural grammar at the center of an essay: In "The Forgery and Consensus" he shows how forgeries can decompose the "fine-meshed consensus fabric" (Eco 1987b: 165) and describes the interplay between Fake and denials in the media. But in the end, after Eco, permanent disruptive actions do not lead, because certain forms of consensus are only strengthened by them. As such a form of consensus, Eco names 'the truth', to which social consensus is to be adhered to and which is ultimately strengthened by forgeries. (cf. Eco 1987b: 167)


Subvertising means the production and distribution of anti-advertising or advertising parodies and is an explicitly consumer-critical practice within the framework of the communication guerrilla. Like on

As shown by the example of Lufthansa, texts and images from the advertising industry are used to deconstruct advertisements or advertising campaigns through theft and alienation, whereby the irritation effect is to be created by using stylistic devices of advertising in unexpected moments and contexts. (cf. Handbuch 2001: 104f.) Because through


"[...] Theft of images, terms and texts from hegemonic aesthetics or from the discourses of power, their mostly veiled ideological function can be more conspicuously demonstrated and deconstructed than would be possible with clear analytical text." (Handbuch 2001: 88)


Based on the image pollution campaign shown, an overlap and formal similarity between communication guerrilla techniques and advertising becomes visible: “[...] Alienation is not subversive in and of itself. It is only the context and the manner of implementation that determine its effect. "(Handbuch 2001: 52) Just as the central elements of the advertising strategists are used by the communication guerrilla and instrumentalized for the political context, advertising experts use the concept of the Communication guerrilla: They use guerrilla tactics to the extent that they produce advertising from the outset that already works with alienation, especially if they are targeting a young, urban target audience, because subversion sells (cf. Schmidt 2005)


“The subversion of the subversion fits into the concept of the guerilla marketingwhich aims to outsmart the immunization against advertising that many people have built up and to smuggle the purchase request into their consciousness "(Schmidt 2005: 150, emphasis in the original)


From the point of view of the collective of authors, it is therefore the task of the communication guerrilla to counter such political or commercial attempts at appropriation and recuperation in a tactically flexible manner and to continually exceed the limits of the existing order. (cf. Handbuch 2001: 52)


Behind the deconstructivist and subversive practice of the communication guerrillas presented are theoretical considerations that can be concretized in three central assumptions, which are examined below: Firstly, stable communication and its codes of domination and power relations, which are expressed in the cultural grammar. Second, it is assumed that these codes can be subversively deconstructed in order to make the constitution of the prevailing conditions visible without conveying direct 'plain text information', whereby the understanding of places and spaces as well as one's own location is conceptually relevant. The third assumption assumes that new codes can be set by means of subversive deconstruction.



Hanna Keding

Evaluation of counter-public

Counter-public - evaluation and evaluation

G.öff, yes conveying information, but well, whether and how it is then recorded, processed, implemented.

G.öff. is overrated.

G.öff. is a helpless means of mobilizing the masses.

G.öff. functions as an alternative public.

G.öff. as an incentive to mobilize, yes, but direct communication is also required in order to have an option for action.

G.öff. also aims at a collective practice (cf. definition), so a collective is needed!

Baudrillard, Jean

Criticism of the mediatization

Just the grafitti on the wall ...

Communication via machine results in a reduction of subject communication to machine communication and the subject disappears (also a bit Virilio, right?)

Better: direct communication on the street ...


The order of the diksourse → discourse theory

Taboos in communication:

Taboo of the subject

Ritual of circumstances

Speaker's taboo

Basis of cultural grammar

(One-way communication, role play / taboos)

Breaking up cultural grammar by means of

Communication guerrilla

Is directed against the meaning and form of the given communication

Anyone, anytime, anywhere

Enzensberger (1970): Construction kit for a theory of the media

Manipulate media and media are manipulated.

The question is not whether or how the media are being manipulated, but rather who manipulated them.

All (the crowd) should send and receive. Media as a means of consumption and production.

Then the manipulation is canceled.

Criticism: Enzensberger's assumption that the right left people send and receive the right left content is too "optimistic-socialist".



The question of range implies the question: what do I want to achieve.

Baudrillard hates Enzensberger: accusation of sham discussion ...? River ???

Did we get any further?

Revolution and hype every time: printing, radio, television, the Internet.

Yes: after 200 years of printing, almost everyone in the western world can read, not just an elite in frocks.

→ Access expanded

It's about the question of use: nothing with emancipatory, political goals.