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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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Section Two

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78 79 Chapter Four A methodology for studying Prisoners’ Radio Introduction In the previous chapters, discussion has been predominantly theoretical in nature. Brief mention has been made to individual prisoners’ programs within the contexts of theoretical frameworks and previous research. The remaining chapters of this book relate directly to my own collective case study of prisoners’ radio. In this chapter, I will outline and justify the specific methods employed during my research, as well as discussing com- munity media methodologies in general. Qualitative research methods seem most appropriate in research that seeks to “understand social action at a greater richness and depth” (Feagin, Orum and Sjoberg 1991: 17). However, this does not mean that quantita- tive analysis should be discounted (Christians and Carey 1981). For this study though, I have employed mostly qualitative approaches, specifically case studies developed via in-depth interviews, theoretical and archival research, basic surveys and content analysis. By employing a multi-faceted approach my results are able to be triangulated to produce a more holistic and accurate analysis (Fortner and Christians 1981). Such triangulation clarifies meaning by identifying different ways by which the phenomenon can be observed (Stake 1994). Qualitative research into community media There are inherent difficulties in quantifying the benefits of community radio (Forde et al. 2002a: 16; Foxwell 2001; van Vuuren 2003), especially when the sector is examined within the economic discourse of commercial media. The citizens’ media framework encourages researchers to move away 80 from the dichotomy of “them vs us” to analyse community...

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