Conflict & humanitarian studies and citizen media

Authored by: Derya Yüksek

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138665569
eBook ISBN: 9781315619811
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315619811-15

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Abstract

This entry examines citizen media from the perspective of conflict and humanitarian studies, informed by the interdisciplinary framework of cultural studies, to provide an overview of contemporary critical debates on conflict, media and society. Historically, the dominance of war-centric approaches has confined our understanding of conflict to its negative and violent forms. In these contexts, interventions focused primarily on prevention and elite peace-making, thus overshadowing the structural and cultural drivers of conflict omnipresent in society due to power inequalities and injustices. For decades, particularly as enshrined in the works of the conflict transformation school, attention shifted from this minimalist view to a maximalist one that recognizes the constructive potential of conflict for social change processes, and sees conflict and peace along a continuum, where peace becomes a praxis, as reflected in the continuous, society-wide struggles for democracy, equality, and justice. Against this background, the entry will first survey key scholarly work on media, conflict and peace, and provide a brief overview of the (destructive and constructive) functions that media may serve in conflicts and reconciliation. Following a non media-centric approach, it will then examine citizen media in relation to conflict transformation, with the facilities they provide for self-representation and empowerment from micro (individual) to macro (societal) levels. The focus of inquiry will be on the emancipatory potential of citizen media and the democratic-pluralist expressions they enable by, among and through citizens in a variety of forms; organized and non-organized, physical or digital, individual or collective. Finally, the entry will review recent case studies of community-based media initiatives in the ethno-politically divided island of Cyprus, to better illustrate the different functions citizen media may serve in conflict contexts.

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