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Raising the Civil Dead

Prisoners and Community Radio

Heather Anderson

What is prisoners’ radio? Who is involved in «creating» these types of programs and what influence do they have on discourses of law and order? Internationally, radio that operates for, or by, prisoners exists almost exclusively within the community radio context. Little has been documented about the genre so far.
Raising the Civil Dead seeks to address this lack of information. It examines prisoners’ radio as citizens’ media, connecting directly to notions of civic responsibility. It focuses on the ways in which people produce media and how these activities transform those individuals. The research is the result of four in-depth case studies conducted in two countries, complemented by an international inventory of prisoners’ radio programs and stations.


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Foreword 11


11 Foreword In 2001 I published a book about community media with the title “Fis- sures in the Mediascape”. The idea behind the title was inspired on the image of plants, lichen and moss growing in the fissures on a sidewalk’s pavement, or cracks on a brick wall. I used this image to emphasize the idea that, despite the overwhelming takeover of media technologies by corporate interests, our mediascapes are full of cracks and fissures where other types of media grow. Heather Anderson’s study of prisoners’ media is an impressive attempt at shining a light on yet another fissure where people are using media technologies in their own terms. The breadth of Heather Anderson’s study is impressive. To conduct four case studies in two different countries on opposite sides of the planet is a challenging undertaking that the author completed without compro- mising the quality of the data collection and analysis. Heather Anderson’s study of prisoner’s media is well researched, and exceptionally interesting. To my knowledge, Anderson’s work is among very few research studies of prisoners and their media. Given the state of marginalization and isola- tion from the media experienced by the prison population, I believe this is an important subject that we, in the social sciences, need to address. More and more people take over their own technologies; more and more, women, men, children and youth colonize, hybridize, recycle, and re-design media technologies to use them in their own terms. And yet, communication and media research is still...

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