The boy, who wanted broccoli: Alternative news and acts of citizenship within new mediascapes

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This article explores how acts of citizenship are negotiated across populist, political, and networked mediascapes. This is done through a discursive analysis of rights-claims originating in a YouTube video depicting a young boy, who is denied broccoli at a refugee detainment and repatriation centre in Denmark. Besides the video the data consists of digital views and comments, texts sourced from citizen media publications, social media sites, digitally born and mainstream media. We make a distinction between alternative/citizen media, digitally born and mainstream media to examine how different types of media play a role in discursively constructing populist logics. Our key findings show that alternative/citizen media forward political acts and rights-claims for the people by the people, whereas mainstream media generally invite elite sources to speak for the people. Finally, digitally born media encompass elements of both, thus questioning journalistic boundaries. The networked media thereby produce the discursive construction of “the rights of the people” as an empty signifier.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Journalism
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)762-777
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • acts of citizenship
  • citizen media
  • discourse
  • networked mediascape
  • populism
  • refugee policy


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