Community Media and the Public Sphere

The focal point for many of the activities of the media be they mainstream or alternative can be found in the often different and varied ways in which media practitioners relate to the communities of which they are a part (“communitas” those sets of ideas and practices which frame the boundaries of community at a conceptual, imaginary and everyday level). Below, I will briefly explore lowcast media cultures and suggest a general conception of the citizen as a creator and/or participant in community life through local media.

In trying to set up a conceptual base for the examination of community and lowcast media one of the most important places to start is with the notion of community. The way we approach this analysis will depend on the perspective which we take to the lived practices of community life. Irrespective of the many and often conflicting ideas which govern the construction of community as a concept the truth of whether or not there is actually community in the pure sense of the word, means less than the ideals which make the concept resonate with importance. This sense that there is something important about community must be explored historically and with clear reference to concrete lived examples. It is a matter of nuancing the rather transparent use of the term and examining the implications of its appropriation for political and social change.

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