The Rubber Waistband and the Resistor: Solidarity Radio and Media Fantasies of Emancipation under Late Socialism in Poland
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The article presents the story of the underground Solidarity radio, a less known chapter of dissident media activism, whose emblematic form was the “extra Gutenberg” phenomenon of underground print culture, or samizdat. It proposes an approach, influenced by media archeology, in which both can be studied as part and parcel of the same communication environment in order to better understand the particular articulation of dissent, media and modernity which both represented. It proposes that in addition to being a certain media form, samizdat was a “social media fantasy” – a shared cultural matrix which embodied political expectations and passions about liberating effects on horizontal communication, attainable here and now through means at disposal of an average person. Underground broadcasting developed in the shadow of the samizdat materialization of this emancipatory media fantasy, despite the fact that radio activists mastered a unique craft of intrusion into the public airwaves, which gave broadcasting an aura of spectacularity that underground publishing had lost as it expanded.
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