[FoME] New MeCoDEM Working Paper | Culture and Democratisation

Ines Drefs drefsi at hotmail.de
Mo Nov 16 12:04:50 CET 2015

CULTURE AND DEMOCRATISATION (Katy Parry and Giorgia Aiello) 

This working paper from the MeCoDEM series is now available for download at: http://www.mecodem.eu/publications/working-papers 

This short concept paper introduces ideas for how MeCoDEM might bring 'culture' into the project. It sets out how diverse cultural forms are significant to the construction and negotiation of stories, narratives, frames, images and memories that circulate, especially for our interest, during times of conflict. It also highlights how culture contributes to the re-configurations of politics, identities and institutions in times of transition. We are especially interested in how cultural practices give voice or visibility to particular actors and constituencies through the media, how they may contribute to breaking down virtual, digital and physical barriers between individuals or communities, and what is at stake in mediated cultural outputs that start to form collective memory. The paper presents: 

     * A summary on how expressive, artistic and symbolic aspects are relevant to studying political culture and communication.

     * Four possible paths of enquiry which take seriously the cultural dimension: Intersections with popular culture; activist use of the arts; cultural projects that address identity and memory; and individual expressions of resistance.

     * An outline of three possible overlapping approaches to the cultural dimensions of the research: Mapping existing cultural outputs; Artistic/photography projects; visual research methods. 

MeCoDEM began on 1 February 2014 and will run over three years. The project investigates the interplay of communication and democratisation conflicts in four countries, Egypt, Kenya, Serbia and South Africa, each of them representing unique aspects of transitional / post-transitional divisions. Based on a comparative case study design, the research covers constitutional conflicts, civic conflicts and conflicts surrounding accountability and good governance. These conflicts constitute arenas of dispute where the media interact with the communicative strategies of governments on the one hand, and political activists and political movements struggling for recognition on the other. MeCoDEM is funded by the European Union within the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. With a budget of 2.2 million Euros, the project consortium includes eight partner institutions from six countries: University of Leeds (coordinating institution), University of Belgrade, University of Hamburg, University of Cape Town, University of Oxford, Stockholm University, Ruhr University Bochum and American University in Cairo. 

Prof Barbara Thomass | Barbara.Thomass at rub.de 
Website: www.mecodem.eu | Twitter:@MeCoDEM


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