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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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The Introduction of a Triptych

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It is unusual to refer to a book as a triptych. The concept of the triptych is often associated with the world of painting, and eras that have long since passed. It may even suggest an old-fashioned mind-set and/or an outdated perspective. Nevertheless, the allocation of such a prominent role to the concept is intentional, because it is vital for describing and understanding this book’s intellectual project. A triptych consists of three panels that have a certain degree of independence but that are also part of a whole. These panels are three interdependent representations of reality, and that is exactly what this book aims to do, by creating three different platforms, bound together in one book.

This notion of the platform is equally helpful in explaining the approach that is used in this book. Inspiration has been found in Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) A Thousand Plateaus, although my book is a more modest version, with its ambition to offer only three platforms, and not a thousand. Still, the idea that each platform has a degree of independence, and can be accessed on its own right, remains, and the reader is invited to find her or his own way through the book. This independence is generated through the diversity of issues that are raised in the three platforms, and the different levels of abstraction that characterize them. At the same time, these platforms are still interconnected, articulated in one book, connected through the materiality of the paper...

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