Portland State University. Department of Anthropology
Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology
Mass media -- Political aspects -- United States, Alternative mass media -- Colorado -- Denver, Mass media -- Influence, Experimental theater -- United States
Over the past several decades, mainstream mass media is increasingly becoming a conduit for the consolidation of political power and not as a vehicle to support and maintain democracy. Representing aspects of a western homogenous culture, mainstream mass media often lacks a means for local representation and can obscure coverage of important local and community issues related to social justice and the effects of structural violence. The Romero Theater Troupe in Denver, Colorado serves as an example of community media that acts as a network of local resistance. The Troupe uses community members instead of actors and a consensus model for developing plays. Employing a political-economic lens and utilizing data from participant observation, semi-structured member interviews and structured audience and demographic surveys, I argue that the Romero Theater Troupe represents a model of community media that acts as a strong body of resistance to the dominant narratives of the mainstream mass media. My analysis highlights three themes present in the Romero Theater Troupe: Power as increasing individual and community agency through projects, individual and community representation and solidarity through social cohesion and community building. Additionally, I utilize Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model to compare and analyze the political-economic structures of the mainstream mass media and the Romero Theater Troupe as a system of community media. My recommendations to the Romero Theater Troupe include: the pursuit of becoming a formal 501(c)3 organization, shortening the length of the plays, and including more dynamic methods of audience participation and forums similar to the methods of Augusto Boal’s “Theater of the Oppressed.”
Kilman, Michael, "Community Media as a Forum for Resistance: The Case of the Romero Theater Troupe" (2014). Anthropology Theses. 5.