• Paradoxes of Participation

    Author(s):
    Christina Dunbar-Hester (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Group(s):
    Science and Technology Studies (STS)
    Subject(s):
    Ethnology, Science--Study and teaching, Technology--Study and teaching, Alternative mass media, Participation
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Tag(s):
    Media Activism, Ethnography, Science and technology studies (STS), Radio, Alternative media, Participatory Culture
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/q645-8x37
    Abstract:
    This chapter examines how activist ideals manifest in the realm of practice, emphasizing the reality of technical expertise running afoul of participatory goals in the practice of radio activism. A major plank of the radio activists’ work was the promotion of technical participation to novices through various activities such as radio station–building workshops, tinkering meet-ups, and other types of DIY (do-it-yourself)4 work with technology.5 They routinely presented the work of soldering a transmitter, building an electronics console (as in the carpentry example above), or tuning an antenna to be accessible to all. They invited novices to participate in these activities, to “put their hands on the technology,” and held that such experiences in technical participation were liberating. Specifically, the radio activists sought to offer “participation” as an experience to everyday people. They presented technical engagement as a strategy not only for leveling expertise but for increasing political participation as well. They believed that technical work could impart a heightened sense of agency to participants. They recognized that tinkering is as much a form of cultural production as a technical one.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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