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What are alternative media? What roles do alternative media play in pluralistic, democratic societies? What are the similarities and differences between alternative media, community media, civil society media and rhizomatic media? How do alternative media work in practice? This clear and concise text offers a one-stop guide through the complex political, social and economic debates that surround alternative media and provides a fresh and insightful look at the renewed importance of this form of communication. Combing diverse case studies from countries including the UK, North America and Brazil, the authors propose an original theoretical framework to help understand the subject. Looking at both 'old' and 'new' media, the book argues for the importance of an alternative media and suggests a political agenda as a way of broadening its scope. Understanding Alternative Media is valuable reading for students in media, journalism and communications studies, researchers, academics, and journalists.