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Title: The complexities of "community participation" in community multimedia centres : the case of Namma Dhwani in India
Author: Bailur, Savita
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 847X
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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In the last decade, community multimedia centres (centres integrating computers with other technologies such as community radio) have been established in developing countries by governments, development organisations and NGOs. It is often argued that these need greater "community participation" in order to be locally relevant and sustainable. Yet, this research argues there is insufficient discussion on what constitutes community, and how processes of participation occur in these initiatives. The key research questions of this thesis ask: what is meant by community participation here? What is meant by a "community"? How does a community "participate"? The thesis also reviews telecentres and community radio as components of CMCs. The research begins by briefly reviewing the democratic principles of participation and debates on its process and value in information systems, development and community media. These discussions are then applied to assumptions in CMCs, telecentres and community radio: the notion of a holistic community or definitive "local culture", the idea that stakeholders can be identified, that participation is directly empowering or disempowering, and that the intermediary simply channels equitable participation. Instead, this thesis applies three middle range theories- the influence of social networks, Erving Gottman's performance and Judith Butler's performativity - to argue that participation is not only heavily influenced by the networks actors belong to, but that as these networks are cognitive, community, participation, and community participation are constructs which are performed in multiple, dynamic ways. Thereby, community and participation are not easily and objectively defined, but constantly performed by actors linguistically and spatially to justify their practices. This argument is made using an interpretive case study of the UNESCO supported Namma Dhwani CMC in the Indian village of Budhikote, researched principally over six months in 2006. Narrative analysis in particular illustrates the fluid ontology of actors when discussing community and participation. Policy implications include the need for deeper understandings of the communicative ecologies of community media sites, e.g., by using ethnographic action research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available