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The Discursive-Material Knot

Cyprus in Conflict and Community Media Participation

Nico Carpentier

The theoretical framework of the discursive-material knot consists out of a non-hierarchical ontology of the interactions of the discursive and the material, articulating the assemblages that are driven by this ontological setting as restless and contingent, sometimes incessantly changing shapes and sometimes being deeply sedimented. This book acknowledges the importance of discourse studies, in having produced a better understanding of the socio-political role of frameworks of intelligibility, and of materialism theory in highlighting the importance of the agentic role of materials. Still, the combination of the discursive and the material requires our attention in a much more fundamental way; that is where this book’s first platform aims to provide a contribution.

These ontological-theoretical reflections are not produced in a void, but they are put to work in this book, first in platform two, which consists of a discursive-material re-reading of three theoretical fields, dealing with practices that are all highly relevant in contemporary democracies: participation, community media and conflict (transformation). Finally, in the third platform, this book turns its attention to a particular social reality, analyzing the logic of the discursive-material knot in the particular context of the Cyprus Problem. This case study fills a gap by bringing community media and conflict transformation together, through the analysis of the role of the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC), and its webradio MYCYradio, in contributing to the transformation of antagonism into agonism. Deploying a discursive-material analysis to study the participation and agonization (and their articulation) in CCMC/MYCYradio shows the complexity and richness of conflict transformation processes, in combination with the importance of organizations such as CCMC/MYCYradio for the betterment of society.

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Chapter 2: Participation, Community Media, and Conflict (Transformation)


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Without desiring to claim its eternal validity, it is safe to say that the discursive-material knot is a dynamic that characterizes contemporary societies at a wide variety of levels. The discursive-material knot’s all-pervasive manifestations range from the tiniest micro-level of human interaction to the macro-structures of society. The analytical implication of this omnipresence is that this conceptual apparatus can be used to analyze and comprehend an equally varied set of societal processes.

In the case of this book, I want to deploy this conceptual apparatus in relation to three focal points. My aim is to put the discursive-material knot (and its related concepts) to work, as sensitizing concepts, for the analysis of a particular type of actor, in an evenly particular setting, and in relation to a particular objective. The focus of the second and third platform of this book is on community media1 organizations, which will be analyzed from the perspective of the discursive-material knot. As participation very much defines the particularity of this type of actor, this concept will be the starting point of Platform 2, first offering a general reflection on participation, and then moving into the realm of community media organizations.

Even though these particular types of media organizations have received considerable (academic) attention (see Atton, 2015, The Routledge Companion ← 85 | 86 → to Alternative and Community Media, as just one example), community media theory still deserves strengthening, and...

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