A text that reveals the value and significance of community media in an era of global communication

With contributions from an international team of well-known experts, media activists, and promising young scholars, this comprehensive volume examines community-based media from theoretical, empirical, and practical perspectives. More than 30 original essays provide an incisive and timely analysis of the relationships between media and society, technology and culture, and communication and community.

Key Features

  • Provides vivid examples of community and alternative media initiatives from around the world
  • Explores a wide range of media institutions, forms, and practices—community radio, participatory video, street newspapers, Independent Media Centers, and community informatics
  • Offers cutting-edge analysis of community and alternative media with original essays from new, emerging, and established voices in the field
  • Takes a multidimensional approach to community media studies by highlighting the social, economic, cultural, and political significance of alternative, independent, and community-oriented media organizations
  • Enters the ongoing debates regarding the theory and practice of community media in a comprehensive and engaging fashion

Intended Audience

This core text is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses such as Community Media, Alternative Media, Media & Social Change, Communication & Culture, and Participatory Communication in the departments of communication, media studies, sociology, and cultural studies.

Theoretical Issues and Perspectives

Theoretical Issues and Perspectives
Theoretical issues and perspectives

Writing in a theme issue of the journal Javnost—The Public dedicated to community media, Nicholas Jankowski (2003) celebrates the “renaissance of interest” in community media studies. Jankowski's enthusiasm for this growing body of literature is tempered, however, by his observation that “the main deficiency in community media research is the paucity of theoretical grounding and model building” (p. 11). Other scholars have expressed similar concerns. For instance, Nico Carpentier, Rico Lie, and Jan Servaes (2003) note that “the concept of ‘community media’ has proven to be, in its long theoretical and empirical tradition, highly elusive” (p. 51). Elsewhere, I have suggested that community media is a “notoriously vague construct” (Howley, 2002, ¶ 12).

Two factors contribute to the conceptual ...

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