Suturing Working Class Subjectivities: Media Mobilizing Project and the Role of Media Building a Class-Based Social Movement

  • Peter Funke
  • Chris Robe Florida Atlantic University
  • Todd Wolfson
Keywords: media, class formation, social movements


Due to the increasingly atomized, isolated nature of social life, as well as the apparent splintering of the working class under neoliberal capitalism, media serve a pivotal infrastructural function for generating the necessary commonality between the fractured sectors of the contemporary working class. This article ethnographically and textually examines how the media driven practices of the Philadelphia-based Media Mobilizing Project helps collectively suture fragmented groups of workers into a class formation that begins to resist and challenge the hegemony of neoliberal practices. As our detailed analysis of MMP’s 2007 to 2009 montage reels show, MMP videos serve the primary purpose of fostering class alliances not only through their viewing, but also, and perhaps more importantly, through their making. As such, we do not consider media in general and the MMP videos in particular as an endpoint unto themselves, but instead as catalysts for further organization building and the renewed suturing of the multiple components of what we understand as a contemporary urban working class. Through a host of old and new media platforms (radio, video, web) MMP works with different segments of the neoliberal working class, such as immigrants, urban youth, and low-wage workers, to create a class identity at the local and regional level.