Media and Participation (Book)

A Site of Ideological-Democratic Struggle


Media and Participation looks at participation as a structurally unstable concept and as the object of a political-ideological struggle that makes it oscillate between minimalist and maximalist versions. This struggle is analysed in theoretical reflections in five fields (democracy, arts, development, spatial planning and media) and in eight different cases of media practice. These case studies also show participation’s close connection to power, identity, organization, technology and quality.

Open Access version of this book is available at this link: Media and Participation

Nico Carpentier is Associate Professor at the Communication Studies Department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB – Free University of Brussels) and Docent at Charles University in Prague. He is also an executive board member of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) and he was vice-president of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) from 2008 to 2012. His theoretical focus is on discourse theory; his research interests are situated in the relationship between media, journalism, politics and culture, especially towards social domains as war and conflict, ideology, participation and democracy. This has been translated into the following five topical areas: (1) Media, participation and democracy; (2) Media, death and war; (3) Journalism and identity; (4) Audience and reception; (5) Discourse theory.

Chapter 1: Defining Participation: An Interdisciplinary Overview
1. Democratic theory and participation
2. Beyond democratic theory
3. Audience participation and communication (rights)3. Audience participation and communication (rights)
Chapter 2: Keyword – Power
1. A conceptual introduction
2. Case 1: Management in the north Belgian audience discussion programme Jan Publiek
3. Case 2: Barometer and the post-political
Chapter 3: Keyword – Identity
1. A conceptual introduction
2. Case 1: The construction of ordinary people in Jan Publiek
3. Case 2: Temptation Island – reality TV and minimalist participation
Chapter 4: Keyword – Organization
1. A conceptual introduction
2. Case 1: BBC’s Video Nation
3. Case 2: RadioSwap
Chapter 5: Keyword – Technology
1. A conceptual introduction
2. Case: Kinoautomat – One man and his house. The lack of uptake of participatory technology
Chapter 6: Keyword – Quality
1. A conceptual introduction
2. Case 1: 16plus, Barometer and the rejection of participatory products
3. Case 2: Alternative and community media constructions of quality: Negotiated quality
Chapter 7: A Short Conclusion

'Carpentier impresses with his seemingly bottomless theoretical knowledge and the eloquence with which he navigates the discursive fields of power, participation and ideology in the media' – Global Media and Communication, Jakob Svensson


'A very well argued, written, and illustrated book on media participation' – International Journal of E-Politics, Itır Akdoğan


'Carpentier’s book makes evident that power relations within a society are mediated through participation and those struggles between institutions and users remain a quintessential field of investigation' – Medijske Studije / Media Studies, Zlatan Krajina


'A lucid analysis' – Media and Participation, Lars Nyre


'The book offers a lucid yet exhaustive account, combining both intricate theoretical detail with prudent and informative examples' – Political Studies Review, James Dennis

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