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    Community radio, democratic participation and the public sphere

    Gaynor, Niamh and O'Brien, Anne (2017) Community radio, democratic participation and the public sphere. Irish Journal of Sociology, 25 (1). pp. 29-47. ISSN 0791-6035

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    Community radio is unique when compared to its commercial and public service counterparts in that, as a non-profit activity, it is owned, managed and controlled by local communities, In theory therefore, community radio offers the potential for more broad-based participation in deliberation and debate within the public sphere engaging multiple voices and perspectives and contributing towards progressive social change. Drawing on a study of four community radio stations in Ireland within a framework drawn from the evolving work of Habermas and associated deliberative, social and media theorists, in this article we examine the extent to which this is the case in practice. We find that democratic participation is still not optimised within the four stations studied. We argue that the reasons for this lie in four main areas: a somewhat limited policy framework; a focus within training programmes on technical competencies over content; the weakness of linkages between stations and their local community groups; and the failure of the latter to understand the unique remit of community radio. The article draws lessons of specific interest to researchers and activists in these domains, as well as offering a framework to those interested in examining community media’s contribution to the re-animation of the public sphere more broadly.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: community radio; public sphere; Habermas; democratisation;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > Media Studies
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute, MUSSI
    Item ID: 11726
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Anne O'Brien
    Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2019 12:07
    Journal or Publication Title: Irish Journal of Sociology
    Publisher: SAGE Publications
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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