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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Working for Water's 'Alienbusters': Material and Metaphoric Campaigns against 'Alien Invaders'
Author:Murray, Sally-Ann
Periodical:Critical Arts: A Journal of Media Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:information dissemination
environmental policy
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02560040585310091
Abstract:This article analyses aspects of the 'AlienBusters' campaign against 'invasive aliens', initiated in 2000 by Working for Water in an attempt to communicate to a broad South African public the urgent national responsibility for the control of invasive alien plants. The campaign was envisaged by the South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry as a creative intervention in the government's management of environmental issues because it used strategies drawn from advertising and marketing. In addition, the campaign used fiction techniques and popular culture references in order to attract its audience's attention. This article highlights tensions among the assumptions and methods that informed the campaign, situating design, image, narrative and characterization in relation to volatile, often contradictory forms of lived experience and symbolic meaning. Focusing on the key message platform of the campaign, the AlienBuster comic book, the author argues that the campaign mistakenly emphasized metaphoric transcendence and formulaic narrative resolution over a recognition of material vicissitudes, and that this underplayed important aspects of Working for Water's existing social responsibility initiatives, rendering the campaign unable to accommodate the moral-experiential ambiguity associated with forms of environmental 'alienation' and 'belonging' in contemporary South Africa. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]