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November 21, 2014 at 10:44 am

International Business Times Quotes Mattson on Hunger Games & Protests

Dr. Kevin Mattson, the Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History at Ohio University, was quoted in an International Business Times story on “The Hunger Games Mockingjay Release: How Katniss And Other Pop Culture Icons Inspire Protesters Across The Globe.”

Dr. Kevin Mattson

Dr. Kevin Mattson

“The real-life use of a fictional gesture led to five students’ arrest in Thailand Wednesday when military police detained protesters holding up the District 12 three-finger salute from “The Hunger Games.” Though the hand signal ban is new, using popular culture as a platform for social change isn’t. Activists have connected their messages to music, books and movies for centuries as a way to explain their point of view,” writes Julia Glum.

The “Hunger Games” movie and book series follow teenager Katniss Everdeen as she works with oppressed citizens to overthrow an authoritative and violent government. The latest installment, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” comes out in theaters Friday, but its themes have long been a rallying cry for protesters worldwide.

Thai protesters first adopted the District 12 salute — one of the “Hunger Games” characters’ favorite symbols of rebellion — in May as a silent symbol of their resistance to a military coup. In response, police banned the hand signal from being used in large groups and arrested five students when they used it Wednesday during a speech by the new Thailand prime minister, Quartz reported.

…Personal perception plays a big role. People heading into the “Hunger Games” movies looking for validation of their anti-government feelings will find it. People who aren’t, won’t….

In most cases, however, pop culture is a response to a movement, not the cause for it. Ohio University contemporary history professor Kevin Mattson said, “It’s usually more complicated than, say, a work of pop culture directly leading to people deciding that they’re going to take action.”

Read the entire story.


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