We are living in a historical moment that will be known for its emphasis on media engagement. The evolution of mobile media technology, the ubiquity of social media, and the omnipresence of multiple media platforms in each of our lives have led to new and evolving modes of interaction with the experience of the media screen. The interactive conditions of digital culture in the United States align with a significant historical moment: growing political and social upheaval, economic crisis, dissatisfaction with representative government, and disillusionment with state institutions. Together, these conditions have given rise to an emerging participatory media culture(s) engaged in addressing problems, exposing exploitation, facilitating media witnessing, and taking back the means of media production and circulation. The chapter argues for an understanding of documentary practice as a mediated commons. This book focuses on how the visual culture(s) of documentary moving images are harnessed as a means of resistance in forms that include witnessing, petition, solidification, polarization, and promulgation. It will examine the ways in which documentary as a mode of production engages in the process of social change.
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