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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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2.4 Part of the Rhizome

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The fourth and last approach is the rhizomatic approach, which builds on the critiques on the alternative media approach, and radicalizes the civil society approach. In discussing the notion of alternative media, Downing (2001: ix) critiqued its “oxymoronic” nature: “[…] everything, at some point, is alternative to something else,” legitimizing the decision to focus on ‘radical alternative media.’ At the same time, he still emphasizes the diversity that characterizes these radical alternative media that are to be found in a “colossal variety of formats” (Downing, 2001: xi). A similar argument was developed by Rodríguez (2001: 20), who suggested abandoning the notion of alternative media in favor of citizens’ media because ‘alternative media’ rests on the assumption that these media are alternative to something, and this definition will easily entrap us in binary thinking: mainstream media and their alternative, that is, alternative media. Also, the alternative media label predetermines the type of oppositional thinking that limits the potential of these media to their ability to resist the alienating power of mainstream media.

The integration of the nodal point of the rhizome in the community media discourse is inspired by Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) metaphor, in order to re-articulate approaches 2 and 3 (see Figure 11), without giving up on the concept of alternativity. These origins give the rhizomatic model a stronger materialist component than the other three models. The metaphor of ← 145 | 146 → the rhizome is based on the juxtaposition of rhizomatic and arbolic thinking.37 The arbolic...

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